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Lisa Squire's discussion posts

  • Lisa Squire 20 Aug 2014 5:53pm () in Part 2: Personalising learning : Shallow and deep expressions of practice | An Enabling e-Learning event



    I've just read the interesting posts and fantastic links to some great research.  I thought I'd share a little bit of the 'personalised' learning journey through the context of a new MLE school.

    I work at Hobsonville Point Primary, opened 2012 in Auckland, which is a MLE and 'personalising' learning is one of our core learning values.  It sits alongside collaboration, authentic learning, relationships and innovation. As part of our journey, we have reflected that personalising learning cannot take place in isoloation and it is sychronistic in nature.  It is a key driver in the teaching and learning at H.P.P and we constantly reflect on the 'why' as we develop the 'how' practices that we are embedding across our school in order to best meet the needs of our students.

    Personalisation links with our other values.  For example, you cannot personlaise learning without first developing relationships.  The robust conversations that need to take place in order to personalise learning have to come from a place of high trust between both students and teachers.  Conversations need to help students to reflect on their strengths as learners, thinkers and focus areas to develop.  Teachers have to know their learners and for that reason we multi-age group students and tag them to a 'home learning advisor' for a number of years so that these solid relationships can occur.  Learning advisors need to be able to have conversations to enable students to notice and foster their learning through areas of interest and passions.  

    Aspects such as how we report are systems that have evolved after we have explored the essence of why we do what we do.  We report frequently and regularly conference with students informally and formally.  We have an Individual Education Meeting (IEM) once a term.  This is a student lead meeting between their learning advisor, parent/s and themselves.  We set goals, reflect and leading this dicussions is reflcetion by the student on the development of their dispositions (21st C skills sets/habits/qualities) which comes before discussing progress and engagement.  We also, use online environments to share progress by sending home via emai/lgoogle doc comments around social/academic/celebrations gains or support needed.  Feedback from parents as been very positive as they like the regular communication and 'no surprise' nature of the reporting.  Strong partnerships are built and stduents are very much in the drivers seat of talking about their thinking, learning and relationships. 

    Learning Design is another area of constant evolution for us as we tweak learning to meet the needs of the students rather than suit the organisation need of our teachers.  Often, traditional practice/systems and structures were designed to best suit the needs of the teachers.  In our mdoel, we as learning advisors are constanting pushing the boundaries of the freedoms and space that we can create for the students to engage in purposeful learning that meets their needs rather than suits compliance or control for us.  It's a balancing act however our days are designed so that students (dependent on ability to self manage) can co-construct/negotiate and plan their own days and in some cases weeks.   Some students are learning almost fully through connected project based learning plans and others have a higher input of targeted learning that may or may not be lead by a teacher.  It is about meeting individualised needs rather than a blanket 'one size fits all' or differentiated programme.

    We see ICT/elearning and our MLE environment as enablers.  We are BYOD and technology is a natural integration into learning.  Students still use pen and paper however we do not dictate when and how these tools are used.  We allow room for students to make mistake and then learn from their mistakes and we acknowledge that learning is messy and not a linear journey.

    Take away the MLE and put in place single cell classes, I still believe that you could personalise learning and meet the needs of the students with a few changes to schoolwide systems and practices.