Research: The term “personalization” is all the rage in the realm of education these days, with schools and software popping up in response right and left. Chris Lehmann of the Science Leadership Academy warns that this term should be exercised with caution. It can go wrong in two important ways: 1) by failing to actually tailor learning to the student and relying upon individualized pace alone to “personalize” standardized content, and 2) by embracing a “deficit model” in which the student’s weaknesses are not only identified, but narrowly focused upon, resulting in students spending the majority of their time in areas of weakness rather than areas of strength.
Practice: At Chrysalis personalization means that students’ courses, teachers, teaching methods curricula, and pace are all tailored to them. This is most true of one-on-one classes, where the course can be highly individualized to the students’ needs, interests, and abilities. In group classes personalization is adjusted to the group as a whole. Since groups formed by joining like-learners the teacher still has a high degree of flexibility to personalize learning to the group’s needs. We minimize weakness by allowing students to learn in their preferred style, building upon their strengths in the process. This is the real deal!