Differentiated Instruction or Personalized/Customized Learning – That is the Question

I attended John T. Spencer‘s session entitled, Customized Learning, at the Reform Symposium on the weekend.  It is quite amazing how inspiring a person can be in 30 minutes!  But, he was, just that, inspiring.

He talked about “empowering the students to take ownership over their own learning.” I discussed his session in a previous blog post.

John made Personalized Learning sound so easy – that’s what made him so inspiring, I think.

Then I heard @mrsbiology (Terie Engelbrecht). She talked about Differentiating Instruction for Today’s Learners.  She was fabulous and so generous!  I got a ton of ideas from her as well. She has a fabulous blog: Crazyteacherlady.com that includes a ton of resources for all teachers.  Take a look.

But, I am now at a bit of a standstill as I’m trying to prepare for the two new classes I will be teaching …

How to get started?

Does it have to be either Personalized Learning or Differentiated Instruction?

Can it be a mix of each?

Is Personalized Learning even possible or realistic only being with the students for 100 minutes each week – 2 – 50minute blocks?

Is this possible to do in isolation – not knowing the classroom teacher’s teaching/learning approach.

Where to from here?

About Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.
This entry was posted in Curriculum, Differentiation, Personalized Learning, Professional Development, Reflection and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Differentiated Instruction or Personalized/Customized Learning – That is the Question

  1. K. Lirenman says:

    I know you well enough to know that you will find the right balance. Those are very lucky children you’ll be teaching (and hopefully the staff will notice and follow too). 🙂

  2. darcymullin says:

    I would say that you have a chicken and egg situation here. I would argue that you can’t have personalization without differentiation and you cannot have one without the other.

  3. johntspencer says:

    Thanks for the kind words about the presentation. I probably erred in making it sound easy (though it is far easier than differentiation, in my opinion). I don’t have it figured out. I had lessons that tanked. I had times when I tried to let students personalize learning only to realize they needed more support.

    I’m a fan of balance, nuance and paradox. My blog used to be called “musings from a not-so-master teacher,” because, quite honestly, I don’t have it all figured out.

    I first switched toward the customized learning style when I taught only one subject (social studies) and realized that I couldn’t differentiate effectively, because of the time and resource barriers. I began making lessons more fluid, more open and more free to student modification.

    It’s been a slow journey and one filled with mistakes. That’s the downside of a thirty minute presentation. If we were sharing a pint, you’d get a chance to hear a little more about the failure.

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