When I graduated from college and entered my teaching program, I was taught that there was one instructional model that worked. That model was face to face instruction. The face to face instruction was to take place in the standard school building, with a standard bell schedule, and with standard students. I taught to this model for years, but as time progressed it became glaringly clear that this “model” was for standard students, not all students.
All students need access to personalized learning and multiple models that can help them achieve their personal best.
The day I left public education for the private sector, I printed out a quote and hung it by my desk:
All students can learn, just not on the same day, or in the same way.–George Evans
Over my time in education, I have seen students who could have achieved so much more if there had been more flexibility for them to work in an environment or at times that they could flourish. As a teacher, I wanted my students to discover how they operated, what times were they most alert, what did they love to study, what was their learning style, how did they process and share information the best, and what sparked their motivation to learn. As time went on it was clear the regular school environment can inhibit and not grow some students. I made a clear decision that I wanted to find a career that allowed students to access quality education from anywhere and at any time. This meant breaking down the preconceived ideas about online learning and joining a company with a common goal of giving students a quality education that can be molded to fit their lives and learning styles.
Within my scope of practice, I work with schools and students that use multiple different teaching models. (Find out more about our implementation models here.) From the Blended Model, Flex model, Online driver, Self-Blended, Online lab… I have seen students be successful, develop a newfound sense of confidence, and go on to achieve their goals when they receive more personalized learning. I have also seen students whose lives have taken turns that in any other situation might have stopped them from graduating from high school, but they were able to finish and move forward in their lives without losing too much time or confidence. All of the above-mentioned models have pros and cons, as does the standard model of education. Not all models fit all students, but giving choice and breath to students to choose, empowers them to be a consumer of their own education. I challenge all of us to think outside of the standard and to empower our students to identify and choose what works for their minds. Our goal is to create lovers of learning, and that spark can begin by empowering our students with their education goals. Lifelong learners are born from positive learning experiences. Foster, support and create a village of lifelong learners.