By Yong Zhao, University of Kansas in Kansas, USA (Eds: EMBARGO: 07:00 IST 12/22/2021) Kansas (US), December 20 (360info) School education has long been one size fits all, criticized for its inability to meet the needs of all students. Reform measures have generally failed to improve learning, even in the most basic subjects of math and reading. Students have often been excluded from attempts at improvement.
Then COVID-19 happened. School closures have forced the entire industry to create new ways of teaching and learning. Caught in the chaos, students, teachers, administrators, policy makers and parents have all had to adapt, inventing new policies and practices in just days.
Not surprisingly, the results have varied. With the disruption came the opportunity for schools to rethink education. All teachers and students have now experienced distance learning, the resources to support it have grown and new and more innovative teaching and learning methods have emerged.
Many schools have been anxious to get back to “normal”, but normal no longer exists. The disruption could lead to more personalized learning. Learning based on strengths and passion, with students at the center.
While distance learning can take place on a global scale, there is no need to force students into the traditional classroom where teachers are the sole authority on knowledge. Students could tailor learning to suit their own interests and strengths using resources available around the world. A student in Vietnam could join a French class for language lessons; or an Australian student could join a Japanese art class.
Personalizing learning isn’t just about students owning their learning. He also sees the learning process evolving into a problem-based process, where learning begins with identifying problems worth solving and ends with solutions to problems. Students learn for purpose and exercise self-determination.
This process allows students to develop an entrepreneurial focus, with an emphasis on problem solving for others and the world.
Personalizing learning is not learning alone. To solve problems, students must work together. And in the age of global learning, students can collaborate with students from other schools, other states, or other countries. This global collaboration enables students to learn from, with and for others on a global scale.
This does not mean that local schools are useless. Schools provide essential in-person contacts and interactions with peers and adults, where students can get guidance and support in their quest for their strengths and passions. Most importantly, students need a local community to learn how their unique talents and strong interests can be of use to others.
Personalization of learning requires schools to be flexible with regard to curriculum, student organization and teacher training.
Modern schools could divide the curriculum into three parts: common national and national courses for all students, school-specific courses for all students, and personalized learning for individual students.
Schools can also be flexible in the way students are organized, without necessarily placing all students in thematic classes based on biological age.
And teachers could be encouraged to change their roles from instructor to personal consultant and project manager, focused on student growth instead of prepackaged program content.
Education reform in the past has been slow and difficult. But COVID has shown that schools can be nimble when needed. The lessons COVID has provided educators could lead to a transformation in education. (360info.org) MRJ
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)