It’s no secret that organizations, especially established ones, struggle with real, lasting change. Public education is no different. That’s why true transformation is so challenging. It seems as if one of the most difficult areas for education is where to start making the change. To help frame the work, the Institute has developed a change strategy to guide our districts as they participate in the Personalized Learning Initiative, based on our honeycomb model. This strategy is based on change in three areas: learning and teaching; relationships and roles; and structures and policies, to be addressed in three subsequent phases. Over the next several weeks, we will examine each of these areas in greater detail.
Learning and Teaching
The first phase focuses on the area of learning and teaching. The order in which we placed these words is intentional – we feel learning must be the nexus of any change to education. If we don’t first look at how each student learns best, we might as well quit before we start. By personalizing the learning for each student, we create a circumstance where we can take advantage of individual learner strengths and address student needs as they occur rather than having to remediate later. Also, when we have a deep understanding of each learner, we can determine the correct blend of learning modalities and strategies to ensure success for each student.
Personalizing the learning for students will without doubt change how educators “teach.” No longer will they be the “sage on the stage.” Educators will become facilitators of learning, working collaboratively with students to ensure understanding and mastery of content, with more focus on small group or individualized instruction.
This past year the districts involved in Wave 1 and 2 projects were engaged in changing learning and teaching strategies. This phase involves developing pieces or innovative modules that are building blocks for change but don’t by themselves put much pressure on the current system. The projects focused on changes to learning that led in most cases to changes in teaching. This stage can be considered the “proof of concept.”
Next up in the series we will examine relationships and roles and innovative models.