The Importance of Personalized Learning
June 16, 2016
Time for reflection is one of the luxuries of summer. Reflection is such a crucial aspect of learning. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, most of us are guilty of not taking the time to think carefully about what we saw, learned and experienced and consider how it might help us grow or change. Those relaxing afternoons in the backyard or at the beach not only provide the opportunity to catch up on our reading lists, but also afford us the luxury of time for reflection.
For parents, summer offers a particularly good time to think about our children. As you watch them in those carefree moments, what do you notice? How have they grown in the last year? What aspects of their personality stand out? Where are your child’s areas of need and how will you support them?
You will always be your child’s most important teacher. No one knows his strengths as well as you do. Nor can anyone else fully appreciate what might hold her back. But what can you do about it? What should you do?
One educator we spoke to suggests bringing personalized learning, the new educational buzzword, home to the family.
The following guest blog was written by Cassie Kosarek. Cassie Kosarek is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
The Importance of Personalized Learning
By Cassie Kosarek
When it comes to your child, analyzing not only how he or she is being taught in the classroom, but how he or she learns best on a micro-level may be key to identifying how to best help your child learn. Knowing how your student learns most effectively can help you identify which methods of teaching and what kinds of lesson plans might best serve your child. When mapping out your child’s educational trajectory, understanding how he or she learns is crucial to maximizing teaching effectiveness.
Check out these three ways in which understanding how your child learns can help inform educational decisions:
Picking a school for your child can be made easier by knowing how he or she learns.
There are numerous types of charter, private, and public schools from which to choose, and when trying to discern which type of school might be best for you child, pay close attention to the teaching styles utilized in each prospective school. If your child has strong tactile memory, for example, you might select a school that places a heavy emphasis on real-world problem solving and tactile learning methods. Knowing how your child individually learns can help you select the best classroom environment for him or her.
Supplementary lessons with a tutor, either to help your child get ahead or to catch up, are better informed by knowing how your child learns best.
The benefits of connecting your child with a private instructor who can provide individualized lesson plans and attention are innumerable. To bolster the effectiveness of this approach, consider letting the tutor know about your child’s particular needs and learning preferences. Is your child seeking tutoring because his or her classroom teacher caters only to the strongest analytical thinkers and your child can’t keep up? Or could your child be retaining more information—and surpassing the academic heights of his or her peers—if material were presented in a certain way? Allowing your instructor to consider your child’s specific learning needs, along with the academic topics to be presented, helps ensure that lesson plans can be tailored to maximize your child’s performance.
Home lessons can be made more fun and effective when your child’s learning interests are taken into account.
Much of a child’s learning takes place in the home environment and is facilitated by siblings, parents, or grandparents. You can enrich these home lessons, whether they be formal attempts to teach long division or life skills embedded within the day, by taking into account how your child learns best. For example, if your child has good visual memory and you are trying to teach him or her how to measure ingredients for baking, you might show him or her the lines on your kitchen measuring cup and then demonstrate how to use it instead of simply explaining theoretically how one might use a measuring cup. By considering your child’s learning strengths in his or her home education, you may be able to help your child more easily commit to memory those lessons you are trying to impart.
Do you have questions about your child’s strengths? Do you fully understand what might hold him back? Find out for sure.