Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Building a Truly Student-Centred Program

I am delighted to kick off another year of blogging here on First-Person Plural. Our aim this year is to accentuate the title of this blog by having a number of our classroom teachers do some blogging about their experiences with personalized learning. This approach will provide followers of this blog with a real sense of this year’s personalized learning initiatives at Greenwood. Specifically, we are focusing on the following four areas:
  • More Blended Learning Courses: Aside from our existing blended learning courses in Grades 11 and 12, we have are now using this approach in Grade 9 Geography, Grade 10 Canadian History, Civics, Grade 11 and 12 Computer Science, Grade 12 Chemistry, and Grades 11 and 12 Physics. This approach will ensure that all Greenwood students have some exposure to this hybrid approach to learning.
  • Block Scheduling: We are piloting the use of a larger learning space, which will allow for more flexible grouping and interactive learning. We have planned our timetable so that students enrolled in Grade 7 English and mathematics use the same block of time. A similar approach is being used with Grade 9 Geography and Grade 10 History and Civics.
  • Major-Minor Choice in Grade 7 and 8 Arts: This year students in Grades 7 and 8 will choose to focus more of their time on Instrumental Music, Visual Arts or Dramatic Arts (“the major”), and study the other two mediums in a “minor” format. Next year, Grade 8 students will choose one art form as a minor and one other as a major.
  • Student Adviser: We are continuing to focus our advising program on individual advising rather than the traditional group approach used in most advising programs. Teachers acting as advisers have their teaching loads reduced so that they have the necessary time to meet with advisees. We are also continuing to augment our adviser program with the use of Hapara, a Google tool which enables advisers to use a digital dashboard to support student learning.
All of these initiatives are the result of careful research and planning over the past several years. Our hope, as it has been since Greenwood’s inception, is to continue to build a program that is truly student-centered.

Allan Hardy

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