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What is Individualized Learning?

What is Individualized Learning?

Did you know that every student learns differently? Some students are auditory learners, meaning they learn best by listening to information. Others are visual learners and need to see information to understand it. And still, others are kinesthetic learners, which means they need hands-on experiences to grasp concepts. There are even more learning styles beyond these three examples. That’s why our teachers take an individualized approach in their classrooms and cater their instruction to meet the diverse needs of their students. By doing so, they can create a more inclusive and effective learning environment where every student can thrive and reach their full potential. 

Providing Students with 'Feedforward'

With an average class size of 12 students, individualized learning is taking place in our classrooms every day, in many different forms. For Blyth Academy Burlington English teacher, Mr. Cohen, it starts with effective feedback. 

“I am a big believer in the notion that practice makes progress. I encourage my students to complete lots of practice before they approach a larger task - I need to know they are ready to tackle that task independently. Once I know where a student is at, I can then give individualized feedback - or as it is now termed: feedforward. By evaluating each student individually, I can give specific comments and notes which help them improve in the areas they need. This is more impactful than doing ‘whole class learning’ which makes it harder for teachers to meet the individual needs of each student. 

Introducing a Mixed-Learning Approach

The way lessons are conducted has a significant impact on student outcomes. For Elementary teacher, Ms. Zawawi at Blyth Academy Downsview Park, using a mixed-learning approach ensures that all her students’ individual learning styles are met and that they can process and retain the information they are learning. 

“When learning a concept for the first time, I give my students the opportunity to see a graphic depiction of the information in the form of a PowerPoint with images and videos (visual). While going through PowerPoint, my students can listen to information while pausing periodically to engage in whole class or group discussions (auditory). During the lesson, they are often expected to take notes on the presented information, in addition to reading material and completing independent written assignments afterwards (reading & writing). I always make it a point to also plan a few hands-on partner/group activities within the first few days of learning a concept, which require my students to get out of their seats and learn through moving and interacting (kinesthetic).” 

Some teachers, like English and Social Sciences teacher at Blyth Academy Mississauga, Ms. Motz, use different forms of media to connect with students. “Technology and media have had a huge place in my classroom which allows lessons to be more interesting and interactive.” 


Encouraging Student Questions

Miss G. at Blyth Academy The Glebe, can tell how her students are progressing by the questions they are asking. 

“I believe that creating a culture where asking questions is the norm is the key to understanding and consolidation. The class sizes give me time to sit with each student individually, ensure they grasp the concept, and challenge the ones who understand. I also think that by spending time one-on-one and in small groups the students develop confidence and become comfortable asking questions.” 

Giving Students Enough Time to Succeed

Sometimes, a little more time and attention is all it takes to grasp a new concept. Extra one-on-one help is always available for every student. 

Principal of Blyth Academy Etobicoke, Mr. Minicucci, says, “We understand that students may need more time to unpack the concepts they cover in class. This is especially true for “heavier” courses like math and science. Our small classroom approach allows students more opportunities to ask questions, engage with each other, challenge themselves with problems, and explore inquiries that they may have about their subjects. We also try to offer students the help they will need outside of class to ensure they understand the content they are covering. We know the importance of having a solid foundation in math and science, and sometimes a little one-on-one extra help can go a long way.” 

Individualized learning is effective for all types of academic levels. Whether a student is a high achiever or needs additional support, everyone can benefit from being taught to their learning style. Classrooms balanced with different teaching methods and one-on-one help create an engaging and stimulating environment where students can reach their fullest potential. 

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