enCOURAGE: October 5, 2021

Carrie Hughes-Grant News

Personalized Learning - What is it? And Why do we need it?

- Part 1 of 3

The short answer, it's the way of the future.

As the world becomes more automated and our graduates are looking at what is next for them in education and life, we need to ensure that our girls are getting exactly what they need for a future that is exciting and expansive and like none that we have ever seen before.


Carrie Hughes-Grant
Head of School

Our approach to personalized learning is rooted in progressive education. This tradition believes that learning happens when schools tap into students’ interests and passions, giving them individualized opportunities to ask questions and explore and take risks. Broadly speaking, the idea is to customize the learning experience for each student according to her unique skills, abilities, preferences, background, and experiences. The hope is that it will improve a wide range of student outcomes, from engagement to achievement to wellbeing. (Herald, Education Week, 11/05/2019)

What is personalized learning and what could it look like? Personalized learning starts with the learner. Learners understand how they learn best and become an active participant in designing their learning with the teacher. These students are active learning drivers. They have a voice in what they are learning based on their interests and learning styles. They also have a choice in how they demonstrate evidence of their learning, because they own it through co-design between teachers and learner. The teacher is their guide on their personal journey. Teachers replicate their knowledge by co-curating, co-organizing, and co-creating knowledge with students so they learn how to learn without constant real-time teacher help. This builds student resilience, confidence, and independence, all skills necessary in the post-secondary education world. The learner follows the objectives, monitors her progress in meeting the objectives, and reflects on her progress. The student accesses appropriate tools to support her learning. Students will build critical thinking skills so they can self-select the tools they need to support any learning task. Information and Communication Technology literacy is an essential skill in a personalized learning environment and the main driver of change in this type of learning environment. As 21st century learners, our girls collaborate, share, and learn with their peers, experts, and other learners around the world. (Bray and McClaskey, Personalization vs. Differentiation vs. Individualization, 04/2018)

This personalized approach, seen currently in our POD classes, allows us as a small school to say yes more. It is personalized by nature because there are multiple courses, chosen by each student individually, in a section allowing for personalization of content, product and topic. It is giving girls control, choice, agency and voice. Exactly what we want for our students - confidence building at its core and passion exploring at its heart.