Teachers Focus on Personalized Learning

Teachers Focus on Personalized Learning
Posted on 09/20/2019
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flipped classroom photoFlipped classrooms? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the furniture. It’s one of four learning styles Lakota teachers are implementing in their classrooms this year to further bolster personalized learning.

In fact, Lakota Local Schools believes so strongly in personalized learning that “WE are Personalized” is a pillar in its strategic plan

Lakota tailors the instructional environment to address the individual needs, skills and interests of the whole child because education should not be a “one size fits all” model. One of the benefits of this type of personalized learning is that students develop ownership of how they learn the material and how they demonstrate what they’ve learned, while still being held accountable to the standards. 

This is done while building a relationship with each student to develop a deep, personal connection that will maximize student ownership of learning. In fact, relationship building is such a crucial part of personalized learning that Lakota has dedicated the first two days of schools for the last two years to building relationships. “Relationships are the cornerstone of building culture in a school or anywhere else for that matter,” said Lakota West Principal Elgin Card. “If kids know you care about them and are there for them, they will work hard.” 

At its Sept. 3 professional development day, Lakota teachers focused on choosing one type of learning style to implement during the school year. Choices include: project based learning, flipped classroom, flexible playlist and station rotation. 

  • With project based learning, students are able to dive deeper into a topic to further their knowledge. They demonstrate mastery of content standards and essential life skills through completing a project that has real life implications, solves a real problem or connects multiple disciplines.

  • Students can choose from a variety of activities to further their learning when flexible playlists are introduced. Flexible playlists allow students to engage in learning that works for them. Teachers create playlists that allow students to better meet their learning needs and coach students to make sure they are maximizing their learning.

  • With station rotations, groups of students rotate among several stations, each with a different activity that is designed to reinforce the lesson. This allows students to engage in learning through different ways and allows teachers to work with students in smaller groups sizes or individually.

  • Teachers assign a prerecorded video presenting a new lesson as homework when using the flipped classroom technique. The following day, students complete activities that would have been traditional homework in class. This allows teachers to use class time to provide specific help based on class needs, one on one support, as well as using class time for learning activities that deepen student understanding.

While these are not new concepts for some in Lakota, the district is focused on providing the support all teachers will need to successfully integrate these styles into the classroom by improving structures and systems that align with this vision. 

“Every teacher in Lakota is committed to making learning more personalized for their students,” said Keith Koehne, executive director of curriculum and instruction. “Teachers are developing strategies and implementing new ways of teaching to keep students engaged in learning.”