Ryan Brusco's first foray into personalized learning came way back in 2003 as a second-year middle school English teacher. With big plans to develop a robust program that differentiated instruction, Brusco writes in Edutopia that he spent much of the school year "running around like a mad man during classes to reach all 96 students."
Back in 2003, personalizing meant curating a library of individual lessons, developing a diagnostic assessment, and handwriting personalized pathways for each of my students. I spent the better part of a year putting my idea into action, assessing and reassessing students, refining lessons, and running around like a mad man during classes to reach all 96 students.
Since then, I’ve been lucky to be part of multiple personalized learning implementations using different platforms at a variety of schools. I’ve seen all angles of technology-based personalization—as a teacher, an administrator, a consultant, and a student.
As deputy director for district and school partnerships at New Classrooms, Brusco now works with education leaders to make the shift to the Teach to One: Math. In his piece for Edutopia, Brusco reflects on the myriad roles he's played over the years and shares some sage advice. Read the whole piece here and check out the four key points he believes all administrators should know.
1. Everyone needs to believe in the why
Dig deep into the foundational research that underpins your personalized learning program so that teacher buy-in is based on a clear understanding of the magnitude of this shift.
2. Define mastery for teachers
Good personalized learning requires just as much training for teachers as traditional teaching. Having a clear definition of proficiency and a flexible scope and sequence are key to articulating a vision for professional growth and avoiding burnout.
3. Encourage teachers to make it their own
While a lot of personalized learning relies on a curated set of lessons and projects, it’s still vital for teachers to leverage their experience within the platform to maximize student learning. This means incorporating best practices into daily routines rather than simply using provided lessons as a script and marrying the overall school culture with the culture desired for the personalized learning space.
4. Prioritize mentoring