I just read this article by By: Michael B. Horn. By fall, every child should have an individualized learning plan. My question is; should they?
According to Curriculum Associates, an education technology company that provides a benchmark assessment to schools, there are more students this year from grades 1 through 8 who are two or more grade levels behind in math than in past years. I am assuming the same can be said for other subject areas. I for one am concerned about the learning of a second language in middle school. I know these last 1.5 years language learning has been mostly digital.
And as the article points out, the mental health issues during the same period are a tremendous mental health challenge that is impacting many students, which will make it difficult for them to learn.
The point made in this article is obvious, students will have different learning experiences this fall.
Different students will have different gaps and challenges. Some have even accelerated their learning during the pandemic and will disengage if their teacher tries to review material they have already mastered. The one-size-fits-all whole-classroom approach that dominates so many of the country’s classrooms and was already failing so many of America’s students will be that much of a worse fit for students come the fall. The assumption that all students should be learning the same lesson at the same time is a fallacy. Christensen institute.
How do we start the school year based on this information?
Each teacher should start off with a short conversation about learning with each student. If that is too time-consuming it might be sufficient to ask the students to answer some simple questions about each subject.
- How much did you work on this subject last year?
- What were good ways for you to learn the material?
- What are your expectations this year?
We need to do this because students have different levels of background knowledge based on what they have learned previously and what they have been exposed to outside the classroom. They have different abilities to absorb new information in what cognitive scientists call working memory. As a result, we learn at different speeds, which vary depending on the subject matter or context. Christensen Institute.
Uncommon sense teaching, how Students Fool Themselves into Thinking They’re Learning
I just read this book and I am also taking this course on Coursera. I encourage you to join me! Here are some points to ponder on, when introducing new material to your students.