Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Monday, December 4, 2017
Thursday, November 30, 2017
When Dave Hinrichs was an elementary classroom teacher, personalized learning was his mantra, teaching method, and philosophy. One might think he is an anomaly, and he’s certainly talented, passionate, and energetic, but in the Johnston County Public Schools, personalized learning is non-negotiable. The purpose behind this method is to encourage and teach students to lead their own learning so that they are engaged and invested in their own work, says Dave, who serves as--newsflash!-- Director of Personalized Learning. So, there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye.
Hinrichs says there are four tenets to personalized learning, which are based on the JCPS philosophy of relationships, relevance, and innovation. Those tenets require teachers to learn his or her students’ individual academic needs, help them track their own learning and own it, choose how they learn, and focus on mastery rather than rote memorization and testing. (Johnston County Public Schools uses an 80%-20% formula, with the larger percentage on growth versus proficiency).
It’s a total re-design of the learning day, says Hinrichs, who by the way, I wish I had had for a teacher in my day. Definitely not a Beuller (reference the monotone teacher featured in the Ferris Beuller’s Day Off movie) teacher, Dave is a rather high-energy and laser-focused on success in incremental steps for his students. He motivates teachers to embrace this practice despite the requirement for traditional pacing. JCPS provides a Personalized Learning Toolkit for teachers in addition to personalized professional development.
As Dave travels the county promoting and teaching personalized learning, his rhetorical question is profound: “If you teach the lesson, does the student learn from it?”
Drop the mic, Dave.