Shaping Your School Climate Through Personalized Learning

Thursday, December 22, 2016 -- Madison Michell

The concept of students’ “liking school” is underrated.

Research has made it clear that the way in which students, parents, and school staff experience school life profoundly affects student learning and achievement. But, when test scores and graduation rates are on the line, your school’s sense of community may not feel like a top priority. Creating a positive environment requires investing in activities and best practices that actively shape your school’s climate.

Why not take a personalized approach? Believe it or not, personalized learning does more than just cater to each student’s academic needs. This learning paradigm can impact your school’s climate and sense of community as well. Let’s take a look at three ways that personalized learning can shape your school community’s norms, goals, and values.

1. Honor the individual first

Imagine if kids came to school and felt just how important their individual success was to all those around them? When students have more choice in how, when, and at what pace they learn, this could be true. Making this shift to honor the individual first, and shaping the learning experience to follow suit is something that won’t go unnoticed. Rather, school might stop feeling like following a regimented instruction manual and more like a unique process defined by each student’s interests and goals.

2. Celebrate growth, not just achievement

When learning is one-size-fits-all, school can be frustrating. Your struggling students look like they’re never meeting achievement goals as a new skill or standard comes and goes before they ever have a chance to master the prerequisite skills. Conversely, your high achievers are constantly told to pump the breaks as soon as they’ve met standard expectations. However, when learning is personalized, instruction is tailored to individual skill needs and growth becomes the primary focus. No matter where students are along a larger progression of skills, the needle on growth is constantly moving and learning gains are experienced every day.

3. Build relationships

Just look at the phrase “personalized learning”. By definition, it should be personal and in consideration of a student’s feelings toward learning and relationship with education. As you and your students work collaboratively to outline learning goals, define a plan toward achievement, and understand ideal working styles, you create opportunities to actively build relationships with students. When learners are personally invested in education and have a school support system in place, the words “school” and “community” can come together to take on new meaning.

Want to learn more about how you can create more personalized learning experiences for students? Download our Guide to Creating Personalized Learning Plans for Your Students!