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Reclaiming Personalized Learning

Reclaiming Personalized Learning
A Pedagogy for Restoring Equity and Humanity in Our Classrooms

First Edition

Foreword by Carol Ann Tomlinson

October 2019 | 352 pages | Corwin

Introduction: The Paradox of Personalized Learning
Section I: Foundations
Chapter 1: Personalization Myths
Myth 1: Personalizing learning means that curriculum must be individualized.  
Myth 2: Personalized learning must be interest-based.  
Myth 3: Personalized learning is only the teacher’s responsibility.  
Myth 4: Digital technology is necessary in order to personalize learning.  
Myth 5: Digitally-driven personalization paves a path to equity.  
Responding to Industrialization  
Chapter 2: The First Dimension: Shaping the Collective Conscious
Shaping the Collective Conscious  
Connecting with Children  
Maintaining the Spirit of the Workshop Model  
Building on the First Dimension  
Chapter 3: The Second Dimension: Leveraging Small-Group Interactions
The Dangers of Homogeneity  
The Limits of Heterogeneity  
The Hallmarks of a Strong Second Dimension  
The Foundation of Individualization  
Chapter 4: The Third Dimension: Nurturing the Inner Dialogue
Authentic Engagement and Intrinsic Motivation  
The Power of Asking... “Why?”  
Intrinsic Motivation in the Third Dimension  
A Framework for Mediated Action  
Nurturing the Inner Dialogue  
Intersectionality and Identity  
Section II: Pedagogy
Chapter 5: Cultivating Awareness
Defining Awareness  
Six Guideposts for Cultivating Awareness in Children  
Expanding Awareness  
Chapter 6: Developing Agency and Autonomy
Balancing Autonomy and Authority  
10 Tips for Teaching Agency and Autonomy  
Understanding the Inner World of a Child  
Chapter 7: Designing Curriculum with a Flexible Frame
The Danger of Teaching without Standards  
The Flexible Frame  
Supporting Humanized Personalization with Standards  
Using the Flexible Frame to Personalize in Three Dimensions  
Chapter 8: Humanizing Assessment
Cultures of Shame and Fear  
The Origin of Fear and Shame  
Campbell’s Law  
Triangulating Humanized Assessment  
Building the Frame to Weather the Storm  
Chapter 9: Humanizing Instruction to Personalize Learning
Emergent Systems  
The Foundation of Responsive Instruction  
Hallmarks of Responsive Instruction  
Engendering a Growth Mindset in Educators  
Section III: Equity
Chapter 10: A Sense of Belonging
The Forum for Changing the World  
The Threat to Belonging  
A Culture of Scarcity and Fear  
Equity vs. Equality  
Technology is Not the Solution  
Inclusive Classroom Practices that Humanize Learning  
A Work in Progress  
Chapter 11: Humanizing Technology Integration
The Purpose of Technology  
Where EdTech Falls Short  
Reforming Education in the Image of Technology Elites  
The Intersection of Education Technology and Social Justice  
Chapter 12: Justice
Intersectionality, Identity, and Personalized Learning  
What is Fair is Not Always Equal  
Personalization is a Problem of Privilege  
Tips for Socially Just Teaching and Learning  
Restoring Equity and Reconnecting with Humanity  

"Personalized learning does not mean simply assigning students piles of independent work. Reclaiming Personalized Learning provides the path for authentic and relevant personalized learning that delivers on the promise of equity. Simply said, students in classrooms where these are implemented will thrive."

Douglas Fisher, Professor
San Diego State University

"Reclaiming Personalized Learning: A Pedagogy for Restoring Equity and Humanity in our Classrooms is both wise and smart, both visionary and sane.  It is both poetic and approachable, both challenging and affirming. Its author is deeply knowledgeable about technology and deeply skeptical of the likelihood that technology-centered pedagogy will better teaching and learning in today’s schools.  He is wary of adopting “personalization” as the next new thing, and yet offers a vision of personalization that is restorative.

"It has been a long, long time since I have read a book that has challenged me as often or energized me as deeply as this book has.  I wish that same experience for legions of other educators who care to create schools and classrooms that make us all more fully human."

Carol Ann Tomlinson, Professor
Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Beginning 20 years ago, many of us began advocating for personalized learning only to be disappointed by the digital dullness of online worksheets that replaced the printed version. Video playlists were only slightly better. The backlash of interest-based learning created the opposite problem of unstructured unchallenging play.

In his new book, Reclaiming Personalized Learning, Paul France shows us how to create agency and autonomy in the middle ground between authoritarianism and anarchy, both of which act in opposition to personalizing learning. His advice is conceptually sound and practical for all of us still searching for the promise of personalized learning.

Tom Vander Ark, CEO
Getting Smart

“In this brilliant book by a dedicated practitioner, Paul France makes a powerful case for humanizing the process of personalized learning and shows us how to do it. He describes how real personalization requires a carefully constructed classroom culture, regular dialogue and social interaction, and individual reflection. This book is a major contribution to the reimagination of learning and teaching for the 21st century and should be essential reading for new and experienced teachers alike."

Tony Wagner, Senior Research Fellow and Best-Selling Author
Learning Policy Institute

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