Personalizing Education in a Standards-Based System

My thoughts after reading Seth Godin’s post Back to (the wrong) school and Douglas Rushkoff post Are Jobs Obsolete?

The other day I was looking at a curriculum map similar to this one:

curriculum map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was looking over it I started shaking my head and wondering how do we personalize education in a standardized system? When every student has to learn the concepts covered in a specific unit by a specific time whether or not the students are done learning, have mastered the skills and concepts or are ready to move on.

When curriculum maps and content standards drive classroom instruction how do we personalize the educational experience for our students? How do we allow them to follow their passion, to wonder, to follow paths of interest?

I’ve talked before on this blog about my struggle with standards, about confining both teachers and students to what they can learn to one or two well written sentences of a bullet point. 

Does it really matter that every child learns the same thing or at the same time? Or is it more important that they just become a learner? Learning how to learn, unlearn, and relearn and having the skills and the passion to make it happen.

What if it was just a school’s mission and vision, or in my school’s case, our Definition of Learning that drove learning in our schools. What if at the end of every year kids had to show this:

We value meaningful learning where students construct enduring understanding by developing and applying knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Increased understanding is evidenced by students who:

  • Explain its relevance
  • Describe how it connects to or conflicts with prior learning
  • Communicate it effectively to others
  • Generalize and apply it effectively to new situations
  • Reflect critically on their own and other’s learning
  • Ask questions to extend learning
  • Create meaningful solutions

 

Do we care what class it happens in? Do we really care about the content? Or can we stand in awe of the great work our kids can produce when we make it personal and allow their passion to show through.