- In a column for Edutopia, education consultant John McCarthy offers concrete strategies for using differentiation to make large class sizes more manageable and get meaningful work done in short class periods.
- McCarthy writes that breaking students into small learning teams of four or five can be less overwhelming than trying to work with 40 students at once, and structured dialogue protocols like Socratic seminars give students time-sensitive steps with defined roles that can focus learning.
- Teachers can get to know students on a personal level even with large class sizes with learning profile cards and by asking students to describe what they wish their teacher knew, and they can overcome a time challenge by developing deeper learning opportunities for students and planning their lessons based on what students might find meaningful and engaging.
Personalized learning is one of the most important trends in K-12 education today. Schools and districts across the country are exploring new strategies to differentiate instruction, often using technology to help. In Chicago, the Joseph Lovett Elementary School has seen its behavior infractions drop to practically zero since it began a focus on learner-led classrooms.
The learner-led concept comes from the LEAP Learning Framework. Teachers at Lovett have become facilitators of learning rather than lecturers at the front of the room and students take ownership over their own progress through regular goal-setting and student-led conferences. Another example of this focus is the Summit Personalized Learning Platform, which is backed by Facebook and gives students choice over a year’s worth of content. Students track all their work through a digital system and decide which subject and unit to focus on each day with support and guidance from teachers.