Wednesday, 27 February 2013

How a Student's Adviser Helps Further Personalization

Sir Ken Robinson's interview at The Blue School is one that speaks strongly to the role that the Adviser plays in personalized learning at Greenwood. In it, Sir Ken Robinson speaks of knowing the students, when to push and challenge, and when to calm and support. Personalized learning is so much more than just what happens in the classroom. At Greenwood, the Adviser program is being built to foster and support strong independent learning skills in our students from grade 7 through to 12. Advisers meet with students anywhere from two to five times a week and get to know them for who they are as a whole person, their strengths and areas of growth, their involvement and level of engagement in the whole community. Through the use of Eportfolios, students actively and purposefully reflect on their skill development, and character growth. For example, following each Outdoor Education experience, students are prompted to reflect on what they learned about themselves, but also what they can carry forward into the classroom, such as resiliency. Through the use of Hapara (a GoogleDocs management system) adviser can help monitor students’ executive functioning and time management skills. Hapara also facilitates the communication between teachers, advisers and students.

Every student is different, and so too are the relationships that advisers have with their students. The large group meetings, once a week, help to build community and positive social norms. They are used to help coordinate larger grade events, such as Stand Up 2012, and Challenge Day. It is in the small-group, and one-on-one meetings that the relationships are structured to the individual needs of the students. And, as students’ needs and interest change, so does the program to ensure age and stage appropriate support and programming.

The Adviser's role is to nurture social-emotional functioning so that students can find a place and people to help them be their best selves. Also, the Adviser works to develop positive habits of mind and executive functioning to help them manage their time, balance their commitments and develop their learning skills.

The specialized role of the Adviser is to help guide students through their journey at Greenwood.  The Adviser helps students select appropriate areas in which to engage and supports the development of their learning skills for success in the 21st century.

Garth Nichols
Assistant Director of Personalized Learning

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