I am suspect of programs, of best practices, of anything that smacks of one-size-fits-all. I cringe when we’re told to “do” guided reading with all of our students. Or use tickets as a way to control all of our students. Or use the same assessment for all of our students. There simply is no 1 way of doing things for all of our students. Because…Each. Human. Is. Unique. Understand that, buy into that, embrace that and you’ll understand why I am always suspicious of anything that purports to be for all of our students.
I am a big believer in staying on top of the latest research. Whoa…wait a minute. Isn’t that contrary to what I just said? The fact is, I am a huge reader of educational research. I read everything I can from Hattie and DuFour and Kylene Beers. But I don’t consume it and then try to retro-fit all of my students into it. (Square peg, round hole comes to mind.) Instead, I place it in my well-honed tool belt where it sits waiting, ready for duty should a particular learner need it.
And that, is personalized learning. Not a program but a deep understanding of and deep respect for the inherent differences in each learner…much like a snowflake. If you believe that…really believe that…then you cannot, nor should not have a classroom that moves in one direction at all times. Well, you might ask, isn’t that Messy? Yes. Frustrating? Sometimes. Exhausting? My bones, brain and muscles confirm it. Worth it? Just come to our learning space and judge for yourself.
Should you come visit our learning space, would you ever see our learners all moving in the same direction? Sure. We’re a work in progress. You don’t undo 100 years overnight.