Honing in on the Target
We know but often forget that a student’s learning and performance can be fluid. It fluctuates from topic to topic and even week to week depending on not only the cognitive understanding of the individual student but also the issues and challenges that they may be facing internally, on the playground or at home.
How on earth do we target for such a fluid state of understanding?
David Bayse said it well when he wrote in his ISTE blog, “To engage students, learning must be every bit as diverse as they are.” This means that adding a line or two in our programs under the heading ‘differentiation’ doesn’t really stack up in our contemporary pedagogical understanding.
I believe we are challenged to do two things:
- develop authentic relationships with our students
- create student driven learning tasks where possible so work is ‘at their level’.
A few days ago I was in an online chat when Kerron Worsdell tweeted out this: We need to, “Build rapport with students & create a safe climate for learning. Diagnose next learning needed from evidence. Explicitly teach these skills.”
What a wonderfully simple four step approach. This could be a Modern Educators manifesto? We need to connect with students first, then move to create serious educational gains from an academic viewpoint was echoed by Connie Rockow. Connie teaches at a C&T school which is ‘technical high school’ that educates students would are likely to obtain an apprenticeship instead of going to university. Here we may call them a Technical High-School, VET or linked to TAFE.
Her student said, “Teachers here (C&T school) value me as a person first, a student second. Most teachers at my home school see me only as a student. I’m just a number or a test score to them.”
The students at the C&T school have been able to zoom in and put the cross-hairs on exactly what this child requires to have success! What a win!
Practical Application – In the Field!
This is all lovely and it is wonderful to talk in such a fluffy theoretical way but how does a teacher implement personalised learning in their own class?
One way I have explored this is through the use of Allan Carringtion’s ‘Padagogy Wheel’. The ‘Padagogy Wheel’ gives a framework for tasks and skills that can be superimposed onto a given topic. This way, students can be put in the box seat. Once given the topic/outcome they select the tasks and guide their own learning. The pedagogy behind the wheel is sound and ensures quality tasks, while the student is able to have self-determination of their learning.
For more detail on Allan Carrington’s work on the Padagogy Wheel click the link below