At the close of classes last June, summer vacation hung on the horizon like the grand prize at a carnival. I expected the mass euphoria, but not the concern about their academic lives in September. As one student said, “I just started to get things and understand. I don’t know what to expect next year, and I’m a little scared.”
His fear wasn’t being unprepared for the academic rigor of the next grade level. His fear was about the climate of the classrooms he would enter. Would he be allowed to redo assignments? Have flexible due dates? Get one-on-one help? Would other classrooms reflect the same philosophy he experienced in mine?
“I love that almost everybody gets along with each other. I feel like I am always being pushed to do new things.”
Exploring standards-based practice is a leap of instructional faith. Moving toward personalized instruction and grading means building a different climate and culture. Students need to be guided in self-regulating behaviors and shown – through their own work and by example – how to self-monitor, self-correct and self-direct their own behavior. Self-regulation becomes the cornerstone of a personalized classroom.
To truly embrace personalized learning means fostering a culture of experimentation, support, tolerance, and trust. Teachers and students become partners in learning opportunities. (more…)