When learning is personal, teaching and learning changes. Teachers' and learners' roles change. Last January, we created a chart comparing Personalization vs Individualization vs Differentiation and a report that explained the difference between these three terms including teacher-centered vs. learner-centered approaches. This chart has been downloaded tens of thousands of times from all over the world and prompted discussions around some of these questions:
> What does personalized or personal learning mean to you?
> How do you see teachers' and learners' roles changing?
> How does a school or district know they are Ready to Transform learning?
> What is Assessment AS Learning?
> Can personalization help close the achievement gap?
> Where are the conversations, models, and examples of personalizing learning?
These questions were part of an interview from Patricia Gomes, a reporter from Porvir in Brazil who wrote an article August 12, 2012 about the chart and resulted in an article and infographic in Portuguese.
Nancy Flanagan is an education writer and consultant focusing on teacher leadership. She spent 30 years in a K-12 music classroom in Hartland, Mich, and was named Michigan Teacher of the Year in 1993.
This is an interesting and thought-provoking article. As a substitute teacher, I can say that the title threw me for a loop and forced me to read the article. I would be willing to be one of those building subs, if it meant I would be a permanent part of the team and considered a professional.
Simply put, heutagogy means “the study of self-directed learning.” Rather than keeping learning in a linear model, heutagogy strives to keep learning cyclical, with students studying their own learning process, reacting to the process, and questioning the validity of what they studied.
As academics, most of us have gotten to this 21st century teaching and learning work by way of 20th century rules formalizing ways of writing about, conveying and documenting our ideas about academic work.
We should all have a teaching philosophy that we can easily share with our fellow teachers, students, parents, community, and administration. That philosophy, however, should be organic and change as we change as individuals, IMHO.
The conversation about how to improve American education has taken on an increasingly confrontational tone.
The first study cited in this article relies on test scores to evaluate the remediation of bad teachers, which makes it suspect - in my opinion. Using test scores to determine if a teacher is getting better is comparing apples to oranges, even if the data set (the students) are the same.
The second study evaluates the effect of feedback on student performance. In my opinion, it's common sense that constructive feedback joined with explicitly stated high expectations will serve students better than feedback that is given for its own sake.
The third study uses behaviorist methods (negative reinforcement) to get teachers to work harder at improvement. Yuck.
So... although I'm scooping this, I do so because it starts a good conversation about what not to do to help teachers performing poorly. I even question what the authors mean by performing poorly, considering the data gathered.
Nothing is more important in K-12 education than the quality of a teacher. But how do we make great teachers? We could start with someone like Jane Smoot.
A quote from the article:
"Rosetta Marantz Cohen, a professor of American studies and education at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., has studied teachers who have stayed happy and committed. They are sustained, she says, not just by the mission of nurturing young minds, or by the high calling of safeguarding civilization. Most often, she finds, they love their subject – literature, language, chemistry, math. They pursue their subject in and outside the classroom.
"Students know when teachers teach what they love. We knew that about Miss Smoot. You probably have a Miss Smoot in your life, too. Thank that person for stirring the embers of your mind."
Donalyn Miller is a 6th grade language arts teacher in Texas who is said to have a "gift": She can turn even the most reluctant (or, in her words, "dormant") readers into students who can't put their books down.
"Is this practice employed because it's better for kids or just easier for adults? What about children who find their reading experiences limited when Lexile numbers dictate their book access and choices? Looking at a child's face or a book's cover, I see possibility, not a number.We can't shortcut or disregard knowing books, knowing readers, and building connections between them."
"Technology is paving a new way for more students to connect with some of the best teachers on the planet. From Stanford to MIT to Harvard and beyond, there are massive open online courses sprouting up everywhere. It’s never been easier to take a course (or even get a whole darn degree) online."