The personalised learning approach takes into account each student’s needs and preferences in the classroom. A teacher who knows each student’s strengths, weaknesses, preferred learning styles, behaviours and special needs can design instructions that are student-centred and that allow them to learn at their own pace.
Although this approach requires the teacher to do a lot of work during the planning stage, it converts into great success for everyone in the end. No student is left behind and the teacher achieves the objectives of the lesson plan successfully.
Learning styles and personalised learning
Teachers can use materials and technology that relate to the four learning styles when creating a personalised learning environment:
Visual – charts, posters, maps, diagrams, photos, and videos
Auditory – music, voice recordings, videos, and speaking aloud
Read-Write – book reports, presentations, comprehension passages, and internet research
Kinesthetic – dramatisations, skits, games, and scavenger hunts
Exercises should encourage students to identify, read, listen, ask, feel, think, write, draw, build, analyse, synthesise, and evaluate different aspects of the topics.
They must be able to learn and express themselves in the way that suits them best. Also, those with similar learning preferences can be grouped together for projects.
Students a teacher should know about
A classroom is made up of several types of students and it is important for the teacher to know exactly who they are so as to zone in on their needs even more. For every type of student known in the classroom, there may be one who is the complete opposite. Knowledge of this helps to shape the instruction for a personalised learning setting even better.
If the teacher understands that a gifted student who excels at every subject prefers to learn by reading and writing while being challenged, then the instruction for that student would involve a lot of reading, essay writing, and written projects. The delayed student who gets left behind in a fast paced chalk and talk setting may appreciate flash cards, charts, videos, music, costumes, skits, group projects, bouncing balls and hula hoops.
The attentive student who listens considerately, reads and follows instructions precisely, and does assignments well may like games with rules such as charades, Scrabble, Pictionary, and puzzles to keep his or her attention. The distracted student who daydreams in class, sneaks a peak at his or her cell phone every minute, acts dumbfounded when asked a spontaneous question, and has no idea what the lesson is about during the session may need as many focus exercises as possible such as hocus focus, text twist, word scramble, and word sleuth.
The disciplined student who acknowledges the difference between right and wrong, works alone and is usually in control of his or her own achievements may need to experience what it means to excel as a team with group projects that present skits and games like charades and Pictionary. The undisciplined student who is disobedient, badly behaved, disruptive and out of control may need exercises that make him or her feel useful such as debates so that his or her opinion would matter in a competitive setting.
The outspoken student who has an opinion about almost anything wants to be heard so a group presentation or play would allow this student to shine. The quiet student who hardly ever speaks or does it inaudibly when asked a question, barely interacts with his or her peers, and acts cowardly during presentations would be the perfect group member to do the work that are behind the scenes such as research, planning, and essay writing.