Personalised learning

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A short essay exploring key feature of a personalised learning environment commenting on different aspects that may improve a pupils levels of achievment

For this assignment I will be discussing the concept personalised learning, analysing and commenting on aspects and key features of the personalised learning environment that I have devised for pupils in key stage 3 and 4. Addressing how the learning needs of the pupis will be met, including reference to reading, I have chosen to focus my classroom design on a maths classroom as I feel this is the subject most relevant to the pupils that I currently work with.

The concept of personalised learning can mean different things to different people (see work based task 3), however, it is very important to remember not to just throw words around in an attempt to give meaning to something that is so vast yet varied. In my opinion this process needs to be very carefully thought out in order to determine suitable definitions, as it is so crucially important to enable students to fullfil their potential. Most maths teachers know that their classes are going to be filled with students of various abilities and styles, in order to cater to individual need and ability, teachers have to be able to use a range of resorces with a variety of different techniques and strategies to be able to help the pupils reach their full potential. In an attempt to introduce the concept of personalised learning, Leadbetter (2003) argued that. Personalisation could become a powerful logic for re-shaping public sector services and saw the application of personalisation to education. “There would be a common scropt (the basic curriculum) but that script could branch out in many different ways, to have many different styles and endings. Personalised learning allows individual interpretations of the goals and values of education”. Leadbetter (2003). In a paper aimed at removing barriers to achievement, DfES (2004) suggests, Personalisation is about putting citizens at the heart of public services and enabling them to have a say in the design and improvement of the organisations that serve them. In education this can be understood as personalised learning – the drive to tailor education to individual need,
interest and aptitude so as to fulfill every young persons potential. A little bit more recent to this DCSF (2008) states, personalinsed learning is central to raising standards and is critical in working towards a society where a child’s chances of success are not limited by their socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity or any disability. Keeping all of this in mind I have tried to create a PL environment that encourages participation, progress and achievement.

First of all the entrance to the room has been kept clear with no obstructions between the door and the workstations as according to Senge (2006), the entrance to the room needs to be arranged to enable students to enter quickly and find a seat or workspace with the minimum of disruptions to other pupils. Some of the pupils I work with have different levels of autism including ADHD and on occasion find it difficult to come into a classroom without creating a fuss, therefore having no obvious distractions or obstacles getting in the way of a pupil goes someway to eliminate disruptions, allowing the pupils to settle down quickly and be ready for learning. Within my plan I have included 6 plants as according to Jensen (2000), plants increase O2 levels by 10% and typical classrooms need 4-8 plants. Studies have shown that indoor plants can provide a number of health benefits such as, a decrease in symptoms of illness, increased performance, job satisfaction and higher spirits. (Burchett et al 2010). As well as improved performance plants have been found to lower feelings of physical discomfort. (Lohr & Pearson-Mims 2000). In a study to investigate the effects of indoor plants on performance (WBT 2), professionals have shown that imrovements in performance of between 10 and 14% were made compared to classes without plants, therefore I believe having plants in the classroom may provide an enhanced opportunity to learn.

Having the correct lighting in a classroom is potentially key to getting the best out of pupils. Research into how light affects behaviour and learning has brought about many schools changing the quality of their lighting (Jensen 2000). In a 1988 study on lighting, unknown to the pupils, lighting was changed in some classrooms, resulting with those pupils affected having 65% less time off than those of the classrooms that had not had the lighting
changed. According to London (1988), fluorescent lighting has already been shown to raise the cortisol level in the blood, this is also likely to suppress the immune system. Therefore, children in the vitalite rooms were in a ‘healthier’ learning environment. Although this study suggest lighting can have a positive effect on health, a critical view is that this study took place using only 3 classes of students and was maybe not widely tested enough to bank the figures as fact. The results from a wider range of research shows that, soft lighting can have a calming effect on pupil whereas fluorescent lighting can cause fidgeting and restlessness. Harmon (1991) studied 160,000 school children to find out what influence environmental factors had on learning. Changes were made to the lighting of the learning environments of these pupils, with the same pupils being studied again 6 months later. The results showed that infections, posture and fatigue were all reduced, the most significant reduction however was with visual problems. Alot of the pupils in the study showed a significant improvement with their academic achievements.

The walls of the classroom contain plain coloured informative posters on a clean background research as far back as the 1950s states, visually unattractive rooms produce feelings of discontent, fatigue and a desire to escape (Maslow & Mintz 1956). The posters would all be subject related covering different aspects of the subject, according to Kaminski & Sloutsky (2013), teaching materials often contain extraneous ‘cute’ graphics which can actually slow down or distract the learning process. A study showed that young students learned math concepts faster when presented with plain, one-coloured illustrations. When illustrations contained extreneous visuals learning took longer.

The main feature I have included to assist in pupils learning is a darts room within the classroom. As someone who has reaped the mathematical benefits of playing darts, I feel it can and should be used in schools as a learning aid that may provide a fun way for children to improve their mathematical ability. I believe that a lot of people do not realise how much maths is a part of their daily routines. Through my experience I have found that when I have been playing darts regularly, my mental arithmetic has improved and I
have felt More alert to numbers. The main areas of improvement will certainly be, adding, subtracting and multiplication, but it does not stop there. Working out 1 and 3 dart averages and checkout percentages, this now mean that darts could potentially help improve upto 5 different areas of the subject with just 1 game type. Furthermore there are other variations of darts games that I am sure can be adapted to make maths more fun. As one of the core subjects I feel very strongly about raising pupil interest in the subject, using the game of darts as a fun alternative to sitting at desks or in front of computers may improve certain areas of their maths because they want to rather than feel they have to. Critically, the children of today have all the gadgets on the market and may lose interest in playing darts

Throughout this essay I believe I have demonstrated a wider knowledge and understanding of key classroom features that may provide an enhanced opportunity to facilitate a pupils learning. Refering to literature and theory to provide evidence to support the key features of the learning environment that I have devised. Anything that can be implemented to help a pupil improve in any subject should be considered, strategies and ideas need to be flexible as no 2 days are the same, however, I will be starting a darts after school club on a Friday that will give me a strong indication as to whether or not playing darts will actually improve a pupils maths.

Bibliography

Burchett, M. D., Torpy, F., Brennen, J., & Craig, A. (2010). Greening the Great Indoors for Human Health and Wellbeing. Final report to Horticulture Australia Ltd., Sydney, Aust. Department for schildren, schools and families (2008). The early years foundation stage nottingham: DCSF crown copyright. Department for education and skills (2004). Removing barriers to achievement: DFES Crown copyright. Harmon, D. B. (1991). The co-ordinated classroom. Grand Rpaids: MI. Jensen, E. (2000). Brain-based learning. Sandiego: USA.

Kaminsky, J. & Sloutsky, V. (2013). Extreneous perceptual information interferes with childrens acquisition of mathematical knowledge. Journal of educational knowledge: Vol 105(2), 351-363. Leadbetter, C. (2003). Personalisation through participation. London: Demos. Lohr, V. I. & Pearson-Mims, C. H. (2000). Physical discomfort may be reduced in the presence of interior plants. HortTechnology. 10(1), 53-58. London, W. (1988). Brain mind bulletin collections. Nevi sense bulletin1. pp. 240-46. Maslow, A. H. & Mintz, N. (1956). Effects of esthetic surroundings. Journal of psychology: 41, 247-254. Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline, the art of practice and learning organisation. London: Random house business.

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