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In Education, If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is….

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Matt Barnum wrote an excellent piece today on an obviously inflated research result touting the benefits of personalized learning (see Why ‘personalized learning’ advocates like Mark Zuckerberg keep citing a 1984 study — and why it might not say much about schools today).

The search for the silver bullet in education never seems to end, and that search is carried on by people who should be smart enough to know that there isn’t one.

Really, it’s doing a lot of little things right that add up.

Personalized learning – both tech and non-tech – can have a positive impact on student learning (though it is clearly not a cure-all), and there’s a fair amount of research that documents that fact (see The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”). I talk about what it looks like in my classroom in my ASCD Educational Leadership article, Student Engagement: Key to Personalized Learning.

There’s also a lot of research, and – it appears to me – substantial agreement (with some exceptions), from research about what effective teachers should do (see The “Best” Lists Of Recommendations About What “Effective” Teachers Do).

It seems to me that we teachers, our students and their families would be far better off focusing on improving all the smaller actions that can add up to moderately improved learning than searching for a phantom solution that hits it out of the ballpark.

Supposed silver bullets seldom appear to hit their target (see The Best Posts About Attrition Rates At So-Called “Miracle” Schools).

 

 

 

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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