Welcome to personaliced learning

25th January 2008 at 00:00

Being sent to the frozen waste-lands of Siberia has long been regarded as one of the world's harshest punishments.

Imagine how much that horror is multiplied when you discover you are being sent there to research "personalised learning" - one of New Labour's favourite educational phrases. They aren't doing that. This was the mission for 11 headteachers from Doncaster, but they actually found it more enjoyable than might be expected. Personalised learning, Siberian- style, sounds like it should involve a series of teachers in woolly hats standing around with clipboards, noting how good children are at herding reindeer, then deciding which ones should be labelled "kinaesthetic learners".

How examining the education of Siberian pupils could prove instructive for teaching children in South Yorkshire is also open to question. But the team, who went on the expedition last year, say they learnt a great deal and will begin applying their findings from next month.

They were struck by the deep sense of pride that the Siberian children felt in their schools and country and hope to replicate this with a scheme called Project Doncaster, which will involve setting up a children's council.

They are also planning to hold a "Siberian social" in March. So, time to dust off the furs and put the vodka on ice.

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