Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Personalizing in a Flexible 21st-Century Classroom

Personalized learning isn't just about the content of the lesson - it's also about the space in which students learn. Geography teacher Christine Joannou discusses how Greenwood's new flexible classroom allows students to choose the learning method that works best for them.

The flexible setup supports individual, small
group and teacher-led lessons - all in the
same room.
The Grade 9 geography class (CGC1D) is one of the most unique classes at Greenwood. Two teachers are in the classroom at all times, working within a 21st-century classroom with flexible seating arrangements. This setup has allowed us to personalize the classroom, so that students are able to choose the type of learning they want:

  • Individual lessons
  • Peer-to-peer or small group lessons
  • Teacher-led lessons

If students choose the teacher-led option, one of the teachers will take them through the lesson, explaining concepts, asking guiding questions and pacing the lesson based on student needs.  

Students also have the option of learning in the "quiet zone". In the quiet zone, students work independently to go through the lesson on their own; a teacher is always available for questions, should students need clarification. Learners work through the lesson at their own pace, and dive deeper into certain topics if they finish the lesson early. 

The classroom setup also allows students to work in small groups around small display screens. They can still work at their own pace, but have the support of either their peers or the teacher if needed. This option fosters student collaboration throughout the learning process.

The flexible classroom setup has allowed us to cater to each student’s needs. Students who need more time to understand a concept are given that opportunity, while students who want to complete the lesson and move on to enrichment activities have this opportunity as well. 

Students have enjoyed this lesson approach, as many find the pace of a more traditional lesson does not cater to their needs. They enjoy the flexibility of this 21st-century classroom set up, which uses two teachers and blended learning tools to enable them to choose the most effective learning method for them.

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