[Sponsored Article] Individualized and personalized learning have become buzzwords in the past decade, but what does individualized learning look like in the modern classroom? Stamford American Schools Hong Kong focuses on nurturing individuals and promotes "individualized" as one of its core principles. What does that mean? Rose Chambers, Elementary Principal, explains. What does this look like in a classroom setting? First, it is essential to highlight that students are encouraged to share responsibility for their learning even in elementary school. They can understand and reflect on their progress from a young age. Teaching students the correct language and communicating clear, concise feedback creates a better learning partnership, moving away from "I don't get it." to comments such as, "I am having trouble brainstorming ideas for my writing." Even in lower elementary, students recognize areas of success and challenges. Students use individualized checklists of skills during writing assignments, including capital letters or punctuation depending on the child's goals. Personalized lists allow students to focus on specific areas unique to them and edit their work instead of waiting for a teacher to "correct." By making corrections themselves, they can see mistakes as growth opportunities and feel achievement both in the learning process and outcome. When you walk into a classroom delivering personalized learning, you immediately see the difference. Students are engaged in leading their knowledge, enthusiastic about the content, and more comfortable sharing what they do or do not know. You will see the teacher moving around the room, conferring with students, and students seeking peer feedback while working on their tasks individually. Before lessons, teachers must carefully plan how to introduce topics that catch the student's attention by taking a complicated idea or question and making it understandable in a real-world context. Students then ask questions to drive learning in a supportive risk-taking environment. What about during online learning? Personalization continues during online learning as teachers hold both whole group and small group lessons. In small group reading lessons, students are supported and challenged at similar comprehension levels by their teacher. In math, one group might work to understand the basics of long division with teacher support, while others work on a more complicated set of questions. In a class of 24 students, how can learning be personalized? Gone are the days in primary and secondary school where the teacher acted as a lecturer, carefully planning lessons to deliver to a class without much data or consideration for various levels. At Stamford, the first step is gathering accurate student data to understand truly where a child is in their learning. Administered twice a year, the globally benchmarked MAP assessment (Measures of Academic Progress) gives teachers insight into a student's level of proficiency in the core subjects, and a personalized predicted growth rate. Teachers can use this data to place students into small groups and modify a task to support or challenge. They continue to observe and assess through various methods such as projects, quizzes, and 1:1 meetings to understand their students. It is not about delivering content to students but looking at each curriculum goal and working with students to attain it. Employing many subject specialists, teachers have time to prepare for the learners in their class, recognizing they change yearly. What is unique about Stamford's approach? It all starts with the faculty; at Stamford, there are teachers from 15 countries with an average of 12 years of experience. A mix of highly experienced faculty with those newer to the profession allows for a vibrant professional learning community. Having a culture where collaborating not just in school but across 85 schools globally is not something I have seen before. Stamford also provides professional development workshops throughout the year including effective ways to personalize learning for students. The American standards-based curriculum helps support the inquiry-based learning model as the goals for each unit and grade level are clear, so teachers can better gauge learning. Any final words? Individualized learning supports the highest potential in each child by recognizing skills and talents can vary. By focusing on growth and potential, students gain confidence and a love for learning. The emphasis on projects hands-on learning while assessing students on multiple data points strengthens teaching and learning and provides a picture of the whole child, not just a rank or percentage. To learn more about how your child can benefit from this approach to learning, contact Stamford admissions today at email@example.com .