Each to their own
The student population is becoming more and more diverse by the day – family income levels, ethnicities, family structures, first languages, interests and abilities all vary so much that the traditional ‘one size fits all’ teaching approach could perhaps no longer be considered appropriate.
It could perhaps be argued that the current approach, which breaks down prescribed lessons into different tasks, does not meet the needs of the individual student like personalised learning can. For teachers looking to make this change, integrating it into their own classroom will take time, effort, and a significant amount of planning, as it isn’t something that can be shoehorned into existing plans.
To challenge and support each child at his or her own level, technology can certainly offer many benefits and can assist teachers in providing every student with a learning journey that suits their own individual needs. In this technology age, most schools have access to a selection of digital-technology tools, all of which help to make the personalised learning approach possible. The majority of classrooms are equipped with an interactive whiteboard and internet-enabled computers, and teachers have access to a huge selection of different software and resources.
More important than the technology itself is how teachers use it to create personalised lessons and an environment which means every single child is engaged. Many of the hundreds of products and resources that are available make personalised learning possible as they allow students to work at their own level, on their own tasks with a monitoring tool for the teacher to follow their individual progress. Many of these programs also have tests for when students complete a unit of work, which is extremely useful for teachers to track how effectively the technology is in helping them achieve the learning objectives they have set.
For many this teaching method would be preferable to all students in one class working on the same piece of work, with some struggling more than others, and all thirty children finishing at different times. It seems to make sense.
The personalised method also means that every child has control over his or her learning and can set off to achieve it. So, some do maths and calculation, others continue with creative project work they have devised themselves. At any one time there could be two or three subject areas on the go, but there is no chaos or panic and teachers can see each and every child, assess their learning path and revise individual targets.
If teachers plan in the right way, they can ensure that they are meeting selected targets derived from formative assessment and based on National Curriculum objectives. The planning that is required doesn’t set out a timetable for each day, as it doesn’t include a requirement that pupils work on the same subject at the same time. Another positive is that it gives children the freedom to help choose the content of their learning, so that they can focus on subjects and elements that appeal to them more than others do.
The Serif software lends itself to either learning approach, and we are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about it! You can post below or tweet us @SerifEducation.