The Teacher's Role in Personalized Learning

The Teacher's Role in Personalized Learning

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4237-8.ch003
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This chapter is designed to inform teachers, administrators, policymakers, and researchers on the role of the teacher in a personalized learning (PL) environment. Teaching using a PL strategy creates a new role and set of responsibilities for teachers that also may impact the training and credentialing of preservice teachers and the professional development of existing teaching professionals. In a PL school setting, teachers may have more opportunities to settle into teacher-leader roles. The chapter provides an introduction, background information, and recent research on teaching in a PL environment. Additional resources are included as well. A survey to assess teachers' attitudes toward PL can be found in the appendix of this chapter.
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Teaching In A Personalized Learning Environment

Teacher’s Mindset

Nowhere are teachers more influential than when discussing their attitudes toward students. Educational professionals are familiar with Carol Dweck’s (2007) growth mindset regarding students, but teacher mindset is just as important. In a longitudinal, university-wide sample that involved more than 15,000 students and more than 600 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professors, Canning, Muenks, Green, and Murphy (2019) found that it was faculty mindset beliefs that better predicted student achievement and motivation. The achievement gap among underrepresented racial minorities (URMs) was more than twice as large in those courses taught by faculty members who possessed a fixed mindset regarding their students’ innate ability. Faculty mindset was more important in predicting student achievement than any other characteristic, including gender, race/ethnicity, age, teaching experience, or tenure status.

Canning et al.’s (2019) study focused on URM populations in STEM courses and implicit theories of mindsets that apply across educational settings and demographics. This study revealed significant factors in learning because it was the first to examine professors’ self-reported mindsets. The study compared faculty members who believed a student’s intellect was fixed (i.e., innate qualities such as intellect could not change) to faculty members who believed that a student’s ability is malleable and can be developed through “persistence, good strategies, and quality mentoring” (p. 1). The researchers found the professors who possessed a fixed mindset regarding their students’ intellect in STEM courses were influenced by that belief, and it impacted how they structured their courses, communicated with students, and encouraged or discouraged their students.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Badges: Electronic micro-credentials. They are a way to track teachers’ professional development accomplishments.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): Children and adults apply knowledge and skills to understand and manage emotions, achieve goals, and convey empathy.

Middle-Grade Years: Ages 10-15.

Open Education Resources (OERs): Free and accessible text, media, or other sources that may be used for education, assessment, or research purposes without needing a specific usage license.

Growth Mindset: The underlying belief that intellect and personality are malleable and can change with hard work, practice, and determination.

Fixed Mindset: The underlying belief that intellect and personality cannot change regardless of how much work one does.

Advisory Time: An opportunity in the school day for teachers to work with and mentor a small group of students. Advisory times were sometimes referred to as study halls in the past. The main difference between advisory time and study halls is the latter were primarily silent and passive learning experiences. Advisory times are more interactive and provide teachers opportunities to build relationships with students and develop social-emotional skills.

1:1 Technology: Every student is matched with a computer or tablet that can be connected to the internet.

Underrepresented Racial Minority (URM): The given population in a racial group is smaller than the population of that group in the country.

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