Take a minute to remember what it was like to be in elementary school. Now forget about the recess drama, the pizza fridays, and that first boyfriend that lasted one lunch, and really try to remember the education you received. Most of us remember the dioramas, the science fairs, the talent shows, spelling bees, field trips, these age-old ways to get kids to enjoy learning. But do you have any memories of sitting down with your teacher, one-on-one, and discussing your needs? I sure don’t. Honestly, if I were really being true to my 3rd grade self, I would have loathed the idea of having to spend an hour alone with my teacher.
Now this ancient correlation between sitting in classrooms and boredom seems to be engrained in our society, but it does not have to be the case. There are schools, and students, and movements, where the students and teachers have a relationship beyond one I have ever seen at a typical elementary school. Our goal as Professional Educators is to take these tenets being implemented at many schools very successfully, and share what we know to as many districts, principals, teachers, and parents as possible. We believe that public education (and all education for that matter) could use some transformation.
There are many facets of education that need work, and we will talk about all of those eventually, but there is a principle at the core of a lot of the work that we do, and that is the idea of individualized learning. This idea, in a nutshell entails that:
Each and every student should receive the individual instruction necessary to reach their goals that are set by themselves or their teacher. The teacher forms a relationship with the student to help him/her realize those goals.
We have been working with educational transformation for so long, that these statements seem obvious to us, like a basic human right, but walking into a school without a single ounce of one-on-one learning continually shows us that there are still a lot of people who might not be aware that there are other ways to do business. We are here to support folks as they try out new methods.
To get an idea of individualized learning, you should watch this short video about the ‘Literacy Lab’ at Aveson Charter School. This school is a leader in setting examples for new methods of modern education, and are constantly working with others to help share the knowledge they have gained about successful education. When you walk into a school like this, it’s not just the numbers that prove the success of the programs, but the attitudes of the children, the desire to return to school the next day, and the pure excitement about projects in the community and at the school. This video incapsulates some of the ideas that Aveson instills: