Why is Personalisation the Key to Student Success?

Why is Personalisation the Key to Student Success?
By Ahmad Amirali

The term ended, and so the remarkable journey comes to an end as well. Not to mention that many more adventures are yet to come 😛 . However, I always ask a question to myself – its kind of my reflection, what one important learning my students took with them during the whole term? How will that learning be going to impact their lives in the real world? Well, with these two big questions, one concluding question popped in my mind what makes them remember these learnings? And the answer is the heading of today’s post – ‘Personalisation’.

What is Personalised learning?

According to EdGlossary, ‘The term personalised learning, or personalisation, refers to a diverse variety of educational programs, learning experiences, instructional approaches, and academic-support strategies that are intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students.’

Why is Personalisation Important?

I still remember a statement from the book ‘Make learning personal: the what, who, WOW, where, and why’ by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey, where it says ‘When the teacher is directing the learning, the teacher tends to be the hardest-working person in the classroom’. This statement narrates the struggle of an average teacher where he/she is the sole responsible person who does all the work both inside and outside the classroom from delivering the content, creating the assignments till the process of monetary and grading these assignments. However, being a teacher, one may ask is it enough to ensure students’ learning? Do our instructions are good enough to guide students’ learning in the right way? Is guided learning always good? What if students want to learn from the way of their own?

There comes the concept of personalised teaching strategy where instructional environments are tailored in a way according to individual needs, skills, and interests. There is no ‘one size for all’ approach; however, at the same time, each student has an equal right to learn within a diverse learning environment. In short, it is now up to the learner to take charge of his or her own education and learning. The role of the teacher would be a facilitator instead of a commander.

How Does Personalisation work for Students?

Let’s have an example of a poem which I planned for my students in the last term from 1001 nights (Arabian Nights) called ‘The Lion and the Hare’. I made a worksheet where students need to, first, study the poem and pick one way from the worksheet through which they can present their understandings.

Activities Scenario
Option 1: Present in the form of a role play Highlight the characters and their role in the poem considering the context in which it was written.
Option 2: Present in the form of another poetry or a ballad
Option 3: Present in the form of an Artwork
Option 4: Present in the form of a song(s) or a mashup
Option 5: present in the form of a silent parody

Now in the above activities, students can present their learning and understandings as per their strengths, convenience and comfortability. Not all students are competent in playing roles or preparing rhyming poems. Therefore, everyone needs to answer and present the same scenario but with different approaches as per their own need.

I learn from my past teaching practices that if an educator follows and apply this strategy correctly, it can put an enormous impact on their students’ learnings. It merely means that the activity is tailored in a way that students can lead their learning as per their interest, needs and skills. Moreover, it opens up the possibilities for students to learn one topic from multiple lenses.

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