Creating an environment in which personalized or student-centered learning can succeed isn’t easy. It starts with making sure teachers are ready to transition to this new type of instruction.
School Improvement Network works with school districts to help them implement student-centered learning, and the first step in this process is assessing a district’s readiness in moving to this strategy, says Transformation Manager Rachael Turner.
School Improvement Network does this by surveying and interviewing teachers and administrators to understand their attitudes, current practices, and comfort level regarding the various aspects of a student-centered learning environment.
Based on this process, here are five questions to ask as you evaluate your own teachers’ readiness for student-centered learning:
- Are teachers trained in small group instruction? Do they know how to manage their classroom in a way that enables them to group students by need or ability, and deliver targeted instruction to each group?
- Are teachers evaluating data? Do they know how to collect, analyze, discuss, interpret, and act on useful information to help determine each child’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas of need?
- Do teachers have the research-based interventions they need to help kids who are struggling? Once teachers understand each student’s needs, do they know where to find high-quality resources that can help them direct extra help or remediation to the students who need it?
- What is your teachers’ comfort level with technology? Are they already using blended learning, or integrating technology effectively in the classroom? Do they know how to personalize learning by having their students use online courseware to work at their own pace or address key areas of need?
- Have your teachers transferred the ownership of learning to their students? Do they know what it means to have students take ownership of their own learning, and are they comfortable with giving up some of this control?
The answers to these questions will help you understand the gaps in your teachers’ readiness, so you can focus your professional development efforts accordingly.