Bringing the Core Four Home: Helping Parents Understand Personalized Learning
This scenario is all too familiar. Children spend a day at school and then have nothing to report. How is this possible? You can encourage parents to avoid this by asking questions connected to personalized learning. Remind them that in their child’s classroom, teachers and students are working together to include four elements of personalized learning. Share these tips to get the conversation started.
Student Reflection & Ownership
In class, your child will set goals to improve learning outcomes, reflect on progress, and have opportunities to make authentic learning choices. These choices might range from learning pace, learning activity, or even to how to demonstrate learning. The goal is for students to have authentic choices about and ownership over their learning so they leave our classrooms prepared to grow and thrive personally and professionally. Help your child start thinking about their choices at school by asking:
- What was the most challenging part of today and how will you approach it tomorrow?
- What did you learn about yourself from facing this challenge?
- What learning choices did you have in class today? How did you make informed decisions?
- What learning goals are you working toward right now?
Teachers start with identifying your student’s specific needs, and then provide instruction and practice to address those needs. This might include small group instruction or 1-1 conferencing with content and/or practice that is tailored to individual needs. Targeted instruction means your child will receive just the right content & practice at just the right time. Get a better idea of the targeted instruction your child is receiving by asking:
- When was the last time you learned in a small group, and what did you learn?
- How does your teacher know what you know in class?
- How do you and your teacher avoid boredom in class?
Data is used to inform what happens in the classroom, including grouping students and targeting instruction. Data is collected in a variety of ways and at varied frequencies. It might be as simple as a quick thumbs up/thumbs down activity to survey student understanding or as complex as an online pre-assessment. Your student will have opportunities to explore their own data in order to make informed decisions about their learning. Ask the questions below to help your child understand what their data is telling them:
- What is a learning goal you are working towards?
- How will you know when you’ve met your goal?
- How do you know you’re making the right learning decisions in class?
Integrated Digital Content
It is important to emphasize that digital content does not replace the teacher; rather, digital content works alongside the teacher to better support your child’s needs through remediation, practice, and/or extension. Learn more about how your child uses technology to personalize his/her learning by asking:
- What is a tool you used that helped you learn today? Why are you using that tool in particular?
- What is your favorite part about using digital content in your learning?
- What is difficult about using digital content to learn?
While personalized learning is implemented in the classrooms, parents have the opportunity to connect with their children and learn how personalized learning impacts their education. Asking these questions and thinking about them together with their children will help parents keep the pulse of what their children's classrooms look like, and what personalized learning is doing for them.
About Monica Shah & Brittany Griffin
Monica is a Design Principal at Education Elements. A former teacher from Chicago, her personalized learning journey began by taking risks with her own students in helping them find their own path. She is excited to continue this work beyond the walls of her own classroom, working with districts across the country. In her free time, Monica enjoys trying out new recipes or planning her next big trip. @MonicaShah12 Brittany is a Design Principal and a former high school French teacher. She loves teaching, learning, & laughing. @BritsGriffin