Archive for ‘educational philosophies’

November 9, 2014

No, I Don’t Personalize Learning

Personalized learning. Differentiated learning. Individualization of learning.

Three jargon elements that twist any teacher’s grey matter in spectacular motions. Which is what? Add to that the pressure that may come through a school PD (“We need to individualize learning!”) and you have the perfect combination for confusion.

There seems to be a continuous debate around the first (“personalized” learning) but I think clarification of terms is always useful before engaging in any argument. Also, a little historical background helps one understand the causes, underpinnings and implications of any educational approach.

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A bit of history

1914 –  The inception of the concept rests with Helen Parkhurst who was heavily influenced by Maria Montessori and John Dewey’s work when she created the Dalton Plan, plan that was introduced in 1914  and was extended later in several countries across the world (from the U.S. and Australia to Japan and The Netherlands). It was designed as an “experiment” where teachers were observers mostly and they would “study the children to find out what environment will best meet their immediate educational needs.” Its main aim was to design learning experiences tailored to the students’ interests, needs, and abilities. 

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