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Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning
Student-Designed Pathways to High School Graduation

Foreword by Joseph DiMartino

April 2013 | 240 pages | Corwin

Your guide to making a whole-school move toward personalized learning

Give students the freedom to map their own educational pathways and help them meet graduation standards! This book illustrates how to support students to take advantage of resources from the community, colleges, virtual platforms, and creative outlets to design their own education. Readers will:

  • Hear from educators who have successfully steered schools toward personalized learning
  • Get specific tips to help your entire staff implement key processes and measure outcomes
  • Find answers to the big questions that threaten success
  • Use models of prompts and rubrics to get your pilot program started

Personalized Learning gives you solid, flexible tools to enhance your school’s depth and generate successful outcomes.

“With a sharp eye for detail, Clarke reminds us that students can and must make their own sense of the world, but to do so, they need smart and flexible frameworks, the company of attentive adults, and lots of back and forth about the important big ideas.”
—Larry Myatt, Founder and President
The Education Resources Consortium

Foreword by Joseph DiMartino
Why This Book?  
Who Might Read This Book?  
What's in the Book?  
About the Author
Introduction: All Learning Is Personal
Meeting Standards/Avoiding Standardization  
Celebrating Diversity  
Personalized Learning  
Designing Personal Pathways to Graduation  
An Enriched Context for Learning  
1. Engagement in Learning
Organizing Curriculum Around Personal Competencies  
Real Questions/Real Meaning  
Building on Strengths  
Artificial Challenges  
Meaningful Challenges  
Designing Pathways by Increasing Challenge  
Personalization and Student Achievement  
Accepting Ambiguity  
Nagging Questions About Personal Engagement  
2. Patterns of Growth
Personalized Learning at Mount Abraham  
Patterns of Growth in Personalized Learning  
Learning Through Relationships  
Nagging Questions About Student Growth  
3. Shaping the Process of Inquiry
Keeping the Target Steady  
Seven Phases of Project Development in a Semester  
The Process Is the Learning  
Nagging Questions About Structure and Freedom  
4. Scaffolding Personal Learning
Focusing on Competency  
"The Space": A Website Organizing Learning  
Designing Processes and Products  
Learning to Learn Independently  
Learning Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: An Illustration  
Problem Solving With Hands  
Using the Tools in Advising  
Leaving the Scaffold Behind  
Nagging Questions About Structure  
5. Integrating School and Community
Why Leave Campus?  
Riding With the Wizard  
Connecting With a Community Mentor  
Fitting in at Fifteen: Austin and Gabe at the Fish Hatchery  
Making Room for Mentoring  
Moving From Simple to Complex Tasks  
The Cost in Time and Energy  
Making Global Connections  
The Action Is Not the Learning  
Nagging Questions About Community Engagement  
6. Assessing Readiness for College and Work
What Tests Don't Tell  
Documenting Applicable Competency  
Measuring What Matters  
Face Validity  
Focusing Questions for Assessing Evidence of Learning  
Tracking the Accumulation of Evidence  
Student-Led Conferences  
Exhibitions: Taking It Public  
Celebrating "Best-Work" Portfolios  
Reporting Achievement  
Nagging Questions About Assessment  
7. Transforming High School Learning
School Transformation Through Mutual Learning  
Growth Through Interaction  
Removing Barriers: Armando Vilaseca, Vermont Secretary of Education  
Shaping a Shared Vision: Evelyn Howard, District Superintendent of the Addison Northeast K-12 School District  
Linking Personalization to Existing Models: Nancy Cornell, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment  
Continuous Adaptation Through Engaged Leadership  
Organizing Teams and Structures: Leon Wheeler, Mount Abraham Coprincipal  
Unifying Personalized Learning: Caroline Camara and Maureen Deppman, Cochairs of Personalized Learning Department  
Expanding Roles for Teachers: Caroline Camara, Department Cochair  
Advising While Redesigning: Russell Comstock, Academic Advisor  
Mutual Renewal  
Nagging Questions About High School Transformation  
Conclusion: From Knowledge to Power
Sort and Select or Empower to Grow?  

"I continue to appreciate John Clarke’s dedication to putting students and common sense before educational politics, fads and test scores. With a sharp eye for detail, John reminds us that students can and must make their own sense of the world, but to do so, they need smart and flexible frameworks, the company of attentive adults, and lots of back and forth about the important big ideas. In a time when data dashboards and growth indexes clutter the landscape and steer us away from personalized learning, Clarke’s voice provides tones of Dewey in a contemporary motif."

Larry Myatt, Founder and President
The Education Resources Consortium
Key features
Personal stories (from the author): I have interviewed more than thirty students, administrators and advisors, converted their interviews into transcriptions and edited the transcriptions into illustrative narratives. These stories then anchor each chapter of the book, with examples of scaffolding "props" for personalized learning developed at Pathways. I have also incorporated illustrations from other Vermont high schools developing Pathways opportunities.

The book will include strategies for moving a school to personalization, examples of the guides, writing prompts, rubrics, and reflections (many in graphic form) that will provide guidance for people working up a pilot program.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Clarke Sample Material

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For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452258546

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.