Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №3/2007
Making the Educational Personal


Making the Educational Personal

Schools are being urged to draw up plans for “personalised learning”. But what does that mean in the classroom?

By its very nature, personalised learning means different things to different people. It would not be personal otherwise.

Take one A-level psychology class attempting to fathom the different parts of the brain. In a personalised learning environment, one group might learn to differentiate the frontal lobe from the hypothalamus by sketching them out on a rubber swimming cap worn by one of the class. Another group might choose to create a 3D model with straws, while a third might find it easier to devise some sort of board game. What is for sure, says the head teacher of Barnwell School, in Stevenage, Richard Westergreen-Thorne, they all stand a much better chance of remembering what they have learned if they have harnessed their imaginations in the process.

At his school, teachers have been using techniques to personalise learning for some five years. “Rather than the teacher saying to the class – I want you to go and learn about the brain, and telling the pupils to go off and make some notes, they say – I want you to understand about the brain and come up with some different ways of remembering it,” he explained.

“Some like to learn more visually, some like to be more practical and some like to sit and study,” says Mr. Westergreen-Thorne. When pupils arrive at Barnwell School they are asked to complete a questionnaire which separates them into different groups of learners. And when they divide up for group work, pupils with similar ways of understanding are placed together.

“The principle that we have in school is that teachers should teach in a range of different ways over a period of time. We are not saying that every single lesson has to be all-singing, all-dancing. We are not saying that we will be meeting every child’s need to the вЂ