The Common Core State Standards underscore five key shifts in teaching and learning that place greater emphasis on
- Critical thinking, reasoning, and use of evidence to defend an argument.
- Deeper conceptual understanding, particularly in math.
- Writing, not only through explicit standards for writing, but also through the need to communicate one's reasoning through writing.
- Applying learning to real-world situations.
- Using informational texts to build content knowledge and literacy.
The shifts embodied in the standards necessitate that students become self-regulating, metacognitive learners. And for each shift, a body of research points toward pedagogies that are particularly effective in helping students who live in poverty meet and achieve the skills, knowledge, and dispositions embodied in the shifts. The brief descriptions below describe these research-based approaches in relationship to a particular shift; however, many of these approaches could apply to more than one shift. The purpose is not to "sell" or promote a particular approach, but rather to illuminate the large volume of evidence that can challenge our mind-sets about students from low-income families and their ability to learn to high standards.
Post written by Matthew J. Weyers
Two years ago, prompted by a blog post that asked, "How many student assignments end up in the recycling bin within minutes of students seeing the grade?," I began thinking about the role of rewards and social interaction in education. The post's question hit close to home, and made me reflect deeply on my current practice. I decided to evaluate my 6th grade language arts and science courses through the lens of two questions: Beyond a letter grade, what motivation do my students have to do well? and, If the primary motivation is extrinsic, how can I make the project more intrinsically motivating? By the end of the school year, I had a three-pronged answer. I had to
- Relinquish a certain level of control and place added responsibility on students.
- Allow students to produce work for an authentic audience (meaning not just for me).
- Give students autonomous opportunities to collaborate on their work.
Here are some of the practices I'm using to hit these three targets.
Personalizing learning* will not truly take place in our schools unless we understand and act on three key things. Until then we will continue to tinker, adjust, and tweak a fundamentally non-personalized system to suit each person. We will continue to mean well but ultimately underserve most of our students.
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.
It has been described as learning that takes place “anywhere, anytime, and anyplace.” More importantly, 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.
With so much attention being paid to college and career readiness, the importance of early childhood education should not be overlooked. In the new issue of Policy Priorities, ASCD explores the significance of early childhood education and details the challenges of expanding access and ensuring equitable services for all children. The brief also provides updates on how educators and policymakers are working to improve the quality of early education through standards implementation, rigorous licensing, new accountability, and greater alignment with K–12 systems, all while recognizing the importance of developmentally appropriate strategies. Read the full issue.
Personalized learning. It is a stealth ninja lying in wait ready to knock out its adversary, student malaise. It's a weathered sage employing ancient methodologies of simple wisdom and effortless discernment. It's creative wizardry that unfurls forgotten enthusiasm. And it is within every educator's grasp.
Simply put, personalized learning is a teacher allowing students to be at the helm of their own learning and the director of their own educational ship.
A top priority for early childhood educators is to teach children to read. Using developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) while incorporating foundational concepts into lessons help teachers differentiate instruction, engage students in the learning process, and increase achievement of all children. While students are treated as unique individuals, all practices should be appropriate to the child's age and developmental stage and build on previously taught concepts. The purpose of this article is to explore teachers' experiences as they implement DAP into their literacy instruction. It also examines obstacles they face as they implement their practices.
ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll, suggested by a high school administrator from New Hampshire, asked readers how to best engage students. He wrote:
A little over two years ago I sat down with two primary (elementary) school teachers to have a conversation with them to discover what had them be so successful with developing their students to learn. It was one of those conversations that connected certain "dots" for me about what I had been reading about the findings of neuroscience and setting up powerful learning environments.