by Henry Bosland
In every classroom around the school, you may have noticed a new poster bearing the “North” logo on the wall. This is the new face of the North Attleboro Public School System’s plan for “Blended Personalized Learning.” As stated by the school’s principal, Mr. Haviland, the idea behind the poster is to clarify our unified goal for North Attleboro students.
Most students and teachers have expressed that they do not know the exact intent behind the addition of these new posters, but Principal Haviland emphasized that this is not a problem, as it is not exactly something that can be taught.
Essentially, the idea behind the poster is to depict the flow of how learning should occur in our school district. Students must first be introduced to topics in an appropriate and usable manner by effectively-designed curriculum and teachers. The school’s idea of social/emotional learning is developed by leveraging the capabilities of technology in the classroom and cooperative learning. Through this, students will be immersed in a deeper learning environment in which they can learn class content at their own rate, tackling things that come easier to them quickly, and taking the necessary time to work on less familiar topics.
Mrs. Violette, an English teacher at NAHS explained, “I think the school is trying shift from having the students being ‘taught at’ to them working on topics at their own pace and taking ownership of their learning.”
A large part of the new shift in teaching comes from a school-wide curriculum revision. These revisions require teachers to incorporate transfer goals in every unit. These transfer goals are ways for students to apply the content of the course to life outside of the classroom. Additionally, teachers are identifying essential questions related to the unit of study, and identifying the student learning objectives that students should master by the end of teach lesson. The goal is for teachers to identify these objectives on the boards in their classrooms so that students will know exactly what the purpose is during each class.
These ideas are meant to address the commonly asked question of “why do we need to know this?” or “will I ever use this outside of class?”
Through this new learning process, it is expected that students will establish core competencies which are critical in everyone’s lives after high school and college. The six core competencies are: “master core academic content, think critically and solve complex problems, work collaboratively, communicate efficiently, learn how to learn, and develop academic mindsets.”
“We are clarifying our collective ‘why’, and our ‘why’ is our purpose in learning and existing as a school,” said Mr. Haviland.
Overall, the school department is trying to outline how they hope to see their students progress in their learning. By the end of their education in this school district, every student should have developed the essential capabilities that will aid in their passage through life after high school.