Personalized Learning 

  Personalizing learning places the learner at the center of instruction. It is informed by strong educator/student/family/community relationships to provide equity and choice in time, path, pace, and demonstration of learning. 
Personalized learning is instruction tailored to each student based on the student’s strengths, needs and interests. Through a personalized learning approach, teachers are better able to:
  • Understand each student’s personal and academic background, strengths and needs.
  • Help each student develop ownership of their learning.
  • Provide students targeted instruction, practice and support in areas where they are struggling.
  • Students will have the choice to learn in the time they need, at the pace they need, in the setting in which they learn best and on a path that matches their interests and passions.
 Personalized learning provides opportunities for increased interaction with teachers and peers and provides higher levels of learner engagement. The ultimate goal is to ensure each learner is adequately prepared with the knowledge and skills they need for post secondary pursuits.
What is Personalized Learning in Mathematics?

Personalized learning is reflected in each of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Teaching Practices.  NCTM president, Robert Q. Barry III, delineated this connection in his President’s Message entitled Personalized Learning and Mathematics Teaching and Learning. Intentional implementation of these teaching practices naturally support the goals of personalized learning.

Below are great resources to help build your understanding around personalized learning in mathematics.
  • Special Report: Personalized Learning: 4 Big Questions Shaping the Movement – 1.  What does personalized learning mean? Whatever people want it to. “But for now, personalized learning continues to mean a little bit of everything, and nothing in particular.” 2. Why does personalized learning sometimes feel impersonal  3. Raising student voice and choice is the mantra. But is this a good idea? 4. Are companies overselling personalized learning? Education Week Dec.6, 2018
How is Personalized Learning directly connected to the student Standards for Mathematical Practice and Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices?
The Standards for Mathematical Practices and the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices both assist for personalized learning. When teachers implement the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices, they encourage students to develop co-academic knowledge, attitudes and skills that are woven into the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

Personalized learning is connected to the teaching practices in the NCTM article by Robert Q. Berry III .  

Are there limitations within this area for mathematics? Are there instructional practices that should be avoided for mathematics?

Deep mathematical understanding is built on student discourse, use of tools, and collaborative work. Therefore, personalized learning means finding ways to personalize the math instruction within a well-constructed lesson which includes a balance of all math teaching practices.

Practices to be avoided are well defined in NCTM's publication of Principles to Action on page 11.  They include:
  • Practicing procedures and memorizing basic number combinations.
  • Using only standard algorithms and prescribed procedures for solving algebraic problems.
  • Learning how to apply mathematics only after mastering basic skills.
  • Telling students exact definitions, formulas, and rules and demonstrating how to use them to solve problems.
  • Having students memorize information for the purposes of solving routine problems on homework, quizzes, and tests.
  • Making the math easy for students by guiding them step by step through problem solving to avoid frustration and confusion. 
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