Let's all get personalised

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
Fran Abrams' piece was interesting but wide of the mark on several counts.

An analysis of an individual's learning styles is only a part of personalised learning in that it feeds, into and off, youngsters' ability to reflect on their own learning (ie learning to learn) and how assessment can be used "formatively" to influence both teacher and student in promoting learning (ie assessment for learning). These join with other "gateways" to ensure that a student's needs are met in school .

This is the very essence of personalised learning that empowers learners and teachers.

The work we have done here as part of the Specialist Schools Trust, The Campaign for Learning and Department for Education and Skills boys'

achievement projects serves to illustrate that a simplistic, atomistic, approach carries a major health warning.

The medical analogy is an interesting one. As I pointed out in my debate with Chris Woodhead on BBC Radio 4's PM programme, it can be played both ways. For sure "if you were in medicine and you were told a particular drug didn't work you would expect your doctor to stop using it". However, if you were still being treated using 40-year-old knowledge and practice with no adjustments for modern discoveries or developments, there would be outrage.

Personalised learning is simply about us improving the way we meet learners' needs. If that isn't at the heart of school improvement, I should like to see the evidence!

Alan McMurdo


Prince William school sixth form centre

Herne Road



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