By Susan B. Rose, Personalized Learning Coordinator at Grandview Preparatory School
The days of one specific curriculum recipe satisfying the needs of each student are over. The educational structures set up for educating masses of children during the industrial era are not relevant today. Scott Barry Kaufman (2013) proposes we consider students’ “personal characteristics and environmental factors as potential gifts – and promote an educational culture that develops them.”
This is the aim at Grandview. Our mission reinforces that we see education as a personal endeavor. As stated by Jacqueline Westerfield, head of school, “Education in the modern world requires attention to the individual learner.” Similar to personalized learning plans being developed in Vermont schools, Grandview creates an Individualized Learner Profile for each student. Instructors access this document to learn about students’ learning styles, learning preferences, interests, strengths and academic areas in need of growth.
Teachers at Grandview actively engage in personalization and differentiation, testifying to their commitment to the individual. Jill Kittredge, fifth grade teacher, varies test formats to match learning styles. Donna Leech, fourth grade teacher, recently encouraged her students to demonstrate learning outcomes on an astronomy unit in varied formats, depending on learning preferences. In Barbara Knight’s middle school science class, all students used the scientific method to gather data. Students then chose their own method for communicating learning outcomes. Demonstrations of knowledge ranged from artistically crafted poster boards to infographic digital media presentations.
Thankfully, educators and researchers around the country are realizing that, for students to attain true success and satisfaction in life, the ingredients going into their educational plans must be as varied as the student body. In One Size Does Not Fit All: The Need for Variety in Learning, Jonathan Wai discusses why we need to consider what each individual student needs to realize his or her potential. At Grandview we plan to continue to educate ourselves on what makes each individual student tick. With this knowledge we will be able to create truly customized paths for growth.
Kaufman, Scott B. (2013). Ungifted. Intelligence Redefined: The truth about talent, practice, creativity, and the many paths to greatness. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Susan B. Rose is currently the Personalized Learning Coordinator at Grandview Preparatory School. She spent many years of her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist in both the public and private sector, with a primary focus on language based reading and learning differences. Additionally, she holds an Educational Specialist degree in Brain Based Learning and Florida Teacher Certification in Exceptional Student Educational. Susan believes the key to student success is through discovery and growth of their unique strengths.