“While putting the learner first might seem like putting the teacher second, personalized learning actually encourages an active partnership between the two, making the classroom a true place of collaboration, discovery and success.”
Student-first initiatives such as personalized learning put learners at the center of their own education and challenge them to grow. This emphasis on creating an experience that’s tailored for each individual sometimes leaves teachers feeling like they’re giving up agency and power in the classroom. Progressive educators, however, understand that personalized learning makes the teacher-student relationship more important and powerful than ever.
In a personalized learning environment, teachers serve as guides, mentors and coaches. They don’t just help students gain skills and master content; they consult and advise learners to help them unlock crucial self-knowledge that allows them to learn more effectively and more independently in the long term. Teachers who embrace personalized learning can actually do more for each student than they ever could using a traditional classroom model!
Stronger Relationships = More Effective Learning
When teachers are instructed to treat all students the same and teach to “the class” as a whole, it becomes easy to lose sight of the individual quirks, strengths and perspectives of each student in the room. This often leads to the “us vs. them” teacher-student divide seen in many schools as well as feelings from struggling learners that their teacher and school don’t care about them.
Personalized learning, on the other hand, invites teachers to get to know each student on an individual level. This empowers teachers to give more insightful feedback to each student and build a personal relationship that makes tough conversations about achievement, behavior and goal-setting much more natural and positive. When a teacher and a student have a real, individualized relationship, it becomes much easier for them to work together, learn together and succeed together.
Natural Differentiation & Enrichment Opportunities
For years, many teachers have understood that each student requires feedback and instruction that match their learning style, perspective and personality to maximize success. However, the traditional classroom model made this all but impossible due to time and space constraints. By embracing personalized learning, teachers can stretch out the classroom to give their students the support they’ve always known they needed.
In a personalized environment, students are hungry for enrichment, remediation or challenge work that teachers present them with because they see it as the work that was specially chosen and designed for them, not a one-size-fits-all solution they’re going to be crammed into. Personalized learning students understand the value of their teachers and respect their perspectives because they understand the work and effort their coaches and mentors put into seeing a real future for each learner.
So, while putting the learner first might seem like putting the teacher second, personalized learning actually encourages an active partnership between the two, making the classroom a true place of collaboration, discovery and success.