During this school year, I have heard a lot about personalized learning. Although I see a large amount of benefits, I also see some major faults in the concept of personalizing education for every student. The entire concept of personalized learning is one that sounds appealing and useful within our educational system. In fact, this idea of catering education to fit the needs of every specific student is a concept that is not new. Allowing students to have a hand in their own education, their own learning styles, their own pace and needs etc. is fantastic. But as I’ve heard more and more about personalized learning, the concept has begun to seem a little….too fantastic. One of the main benefits of personalized learning is the fact that students would have the ability to chose the assignment or lesson that they want to focus on. This allows students to feel in charge of their own education, and focus on the material that interests them. Working at their own pace encourages students to accomplish things at their own personal capacity, and move forward without feeling held back by strict lesson plans, or students that are slower than them. This personalization of learning is ideal.
However, this is the exact problem that I have with personalized learning. I feel as though the concept of personalizing learning is a little bit too idealistic. Although some students would thrive in a less structured environment, would be able to fly through assignments, and would ultimately receive more success….by the same token, some students would lack motivation, fall behind, and would miss out on the support from their peers,
I appreciated that the article touched on this topic for a moment. “Might students with challenges like language acquisition, low proficiency in reading, emotional insecurity, a lack of background experiences, or even a weak attention span have trouble finding success with this learning structure?”
I feel as though personalized learning contradicts a lot of what we have learned about education for years. We have always been taught that inclusion is key! We need to find way to include every student. We need to structure the educational system in a way that brings even the lower achieving students up to the top, instead of creating classes that segregate students and give higher achieving students more opportunities. We need to mix groups of low achieving students with high achieving students so that all students can have a fair chance and an even playing field.
But now, the idea of personalized learning feels like the high achieving students would be able to quickly move ahead, and leave low achieving students in the dust. If students with more educational difficulties saw their peers several units ahead of them, wouldn’t this only work to discourage them and make them feel inadequate and dumb in comparison?
Within my own classroom, students are given several assignment to work on at once. During work time, students are able to choose which assignment they would like to focus on at that particular moment This is a good example of personalizing learning while still keeping every student on the same level. I think that some implementations of personalized learning are very helpful, whereas the concept as a whole has some serious flaws. it will be interesting to see how the idea develops and strengthens.
I found this article very interesting. What is the future for students with learning disabilities? Or Lower Achieving Students?: https://nancyebailey.com/2017/06/24/personalized-learning-is-not-inclusion/