What do you imagine when you hear the word "school"? If you picture a teacher standing in front of the whiteboard, with students staring at them, then you are about to be impressed by the concept of personalised learning.
Imagine a teacher with a traditional teaching style trying to teach fractions to 20 students at a time. Some of them will get the concept, but some of them will not. The next day, the teacher will either reteach, leaving those who understand - bored, or the teacher can teach a new lesson, leaving the students who did not get it, confused. This will lead to students getting frustrated and disappointed.
Here at Astor International School, students have the privilege of receiving personalised guidance from teachers. The concept of individualised curriculum has such a large significance in the current times. This is because it ensures that students get what they need, when they need it, and how they need it. Having a traditional approach to teaching is perfectly alright, but people should be ready to accept that it is just one way of learning.
Other methods of learning can consist of students going into smaller groups and learning from each other, or with videos, hands-on games or online games. These are just a few ways that students learn. These modalities are joined into a single learning environment which means that emphasis is moved away from the traditional classroom.
Going back to the question of what you imagine when you hear the word school, with the concept of personalised learning, you would imagine students getting instructions at their own academic level, in a format that is most likely successful for them. This will vary from student to student. For example, when one group of students is using loop to play an algebra game, another group of students is watching a video on how to solve algebraic equations. Another group might be doing online quizzes, and another student might be getting 1-to-1 assistance from the teacher.
Meeting the unique needs of each individual student means that teachers need to start with a deep understanding of each student. Having the students’ learning profile at the beginning of the year with information like their preferred learning style, interests, learning history, strengths and challenges will be vital to ensure that the individualised learning path is paved correctly. Regular updates are also necessary to ensure that information is up-to-date, especially when the student progresses to another class, with another teacher.
A personalised learning path comes with its own set of advantages that holds much significance in a student’s holistic development. Firstly, students move at their own pace, which means that students who struggle have ample time to grasp the concept before moving on. When this happens, it cuts down the barriers between students who have different skill levels. Traditional classrooms make students think of each other as very different, as it's either they get the concept right, or they don’t. However, personalised learning decreases this problem, as students are allowed to learn at their own pace.
Secondly, it also sidesteps problems with standardised tests and assessments, which has questionable efficacy. It is important to know that not all students prove their understanding best through tests. Some may do better with presentations or creative designs and projects. Sometimes, it also holds the problem of stopping teachers from going beyond the basic curriculum’s learning objectives, and it forces all students to think alike, and do similar activities.
Lastly, this prepares students for the new economy. This 21st century is definitely not a “one-size-fits-all” economy. In order to fit in now, workers need to be prepared to forge their own paths and professional development, which is what personalised learning encourages. It helps individuals to access their own strengths and weaknesses and pave their own paths.
At Astor International School our class size is small (18 students per teacher) that allows teachers to give lots of individual attention to students and facilitate peronilise learning. We are raising life long learning in the naturing environment.