How do we help each student succeed? One promising way is to personalize learning and put each student at the center of her learning experience. Broader than individualized or differentiated instruction, personalized learning is driven by the learner. Ensuring personalized learning for all students requires a shift in thinking about long-standing education practices, systems, and policies, as well as significant changes in the tools and resources. To address students’ abilities, interests, styles, and performance, schools need to rethink curricula, instruction, and technology tools to support giving learners choices and schools flexibility.
Join us as throughout December and January as we take a look at how personalized learning has the promise to ensure equity, engagement, ownership, and achievement for each child, in each school, and in each community so that she is college, career, and citizenship ready and is prepared for success in our global, knowledge-based society.
December 2013/January 2014 issue of Educational Leadership focuses on how educators can help students achieve mastery as they learn. But what does mastery mean? And how can teachers be sure students have achieved it? Authors in this issue consider these questions from a variety of angles, offering definitions of mastery and discussing how a focus on mastery might transform classroom practices.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer notes that the concept of mastery is difficult to grasp, but that the concept of mastery learning is relatively straightforward. It's the idea of setting clear objectives, providing students with opportunities for practice, checking for understanding, reteaching in different and new ways if needed, and, finally, giving students more than one chance to demonstrate the attainment of the goal. Mastery learning puts students first.
"Educators need to prepare kids to be career and college ready, but they also need to prepare them for their present world. The Common Core State Standards set out to do that. They're not perfect, but they are a starting point" (Peter DeWitt).
The standards are not a curriculum. Standards are targets for what students should know and be able to do. Curricula are the instructional plans and strategies that educators use to help their students reach those expectations. Central to a supportive school are teachers, administrators, and other caring adults who take a personal interest in each student and in the success of each student. Join us throughout November as we look at how we are designing course content, choosing appropriate instructional strategies, developing learning activities, continuously gauging student understanding, adjusting instruction accordingly, and involving parents and families as partners to support our students' success.
A whole child approach to education is essential to realizing the promise of the standards. Only when students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged will they be able to meet our highest expectations and realize their fullest potential.
November 2013 issue of Educational Leadership shows how to creatively make this stretch and how to help students think of nonfiction as challenging and fun.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer believes it starts with finding texts that present engaging style and content, rather than texts that hide "the good stuff." Kids need to be exposed to the best nonfiction and given the skills to delve deeply into it.
Human beings are born to learn. During the last few decades, developmental science has exploded with discoveries of how, specifically, learning happens. This provides us with an unprecedented window into children's minds: how and when they begin to think, perceive, understand, and apply knowledge.
"The healthy development of young children in the early years of life literally does provide a foundation for just about all of the challenging social problems that our society and other societies face," says Jack P. Shonkoff, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University looks at the brain science behind early childhood development.
"When we talk about preparing children to succeed in school, we cannot separate cognitive development from social and emotional development. You can't have one without the other," says Shonkoff. He goes on to explain how a young child's brain is shaped by his experiences, and how interactions with adults, both positive and negative, affect the development of a child's brain. Learn more with ASCD Express.
October 2013 issue of Educational Leadership looks at how teachers are leading today and considers how schools can best leverage the leadership skills of teachers.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer examines today's challenges to teacher leadership and asks how do we tap this talent and know-how to transform "the school writ large," to quote Roland S. Barth. Barth is an author of one of this issue's articles, and Scherer ends her column with another quote from him: "The bottom line remains: All teachers can lead. Many teachers want to lead. Schools badly need their ideas, invention, energy—and their leadership."
What does "education" mean for our youngest learners? The first years of school are as important for an educated population as any other period, perhaps more. Additionally, research shows that implementation of high-quality preschool programs can be beneficial for the lifelong development of children in low-income families and that an upfront commitment to early education provides returns to society that are many times more valuable than the original investment.
With the current focus on standards and academic achievement, is learning and testing coming too early? Curriculum and assessment should be based on the best knowledge of theory and research about how children develop and learn with attention given to individual children's needs and interests in a group in relation to program goals. Join us throughout October as we look at the importance of early childhood education and the specific social, cognitive, and emotional needs these learners have that are different from those of older learners. If early childhood is where we begin to build skills and behaviors such as persistence, empathy, collaboration, and problem solving, are we teaching in developmentally appropriate ways?
September 2013 issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership addresses what educators can do to help students persevere in the face of challenges.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer shares the stories of Maya and Malala, two women of different generations and cultures who embody what it means to be resilient. After reading the column, what do you think can be done to give students the strength, the effort, and the knowledge to persist in the face of difficulty and adversity?