Strengthening the Foundation │Personalized Learning

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As states, districts, and schools embark on the personalized learning journey, it is critical to ensure a strong foundation that includes embracing culturally responsive learning, social-emotional approaches, and flexible learning environments allowing for anywhere, anytime learning.

Cultural Responsiveness

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School Climate

Making learning more appropriate and effective means embracing the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and learning preferences of diverse students. Teachers are culturally responsive when they hold all students to high standards, make learning challenging, engage all learners, have an understanding and incorporate students’ various cultural backgrounds into the design of learning experiences, and make connections between classroom and the world beyond. Adopting culturally responsive teaching methods can lead to a more positive classroom learning environment, more efficient use of class time and human resources, higher-quality instruction, and greater student engagement.

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is essential to academic achievement and well-being in school, as well as success in college and careers. Helping students build SEL abilities means they can engage cognitively in learning, benefit from interactions with others, and develop the key skills they will need to thrive in the 21st century. Fostering social and emotional well-being is a key component to improve conditions for learning that consider the whole child. Ensuring a safe and healthy school environment is key to the social and emotional development. Personalized learning initiatives should recognize the integral role of SEL in enabling the whole child to succeed.

Flexible Learning Environments

Flexible learning environments enable students to customize their learning experiences—moving beyond the constraints of time and place to facilitate blended learning opportunities, flexible pacing, easy access to online instructional materials and learning management digital tools that provide both students and teachers with the ability to customize the learning experience. A flexible learning environment must also focus on building students’ capacity to assume ownership and be responsible for their own learning, as well as offer students a wide range of rich learning opportunities to construct knowledge; engage in inquiry-based projects; participate in collaborative, small groups of mixed ability; and have authentic interactions.