Students have returned to take over the Remaking Tomorrow podcast, and this time, when talking about personalized learning, they’re talking about equity.
Remaking Tomorrow typically features interviews between hosts Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski and leading thinkers, practitioners and experts navigating the future of learning. For the next several weeks, the podcast is being handed over to those most closely engaged with the learning: students. The conversations highlight thoughts that learners have on personalized and equitable learning. They define these terms and also provide examples of how their experiences have been personalized and equitable or not. The students also provide advice and suggestions for systems and educators in order to make a more promising future for every learner.
They were not very accommodating in dealing with kids who had been through traumatic experiences and who were trying to learn how to be people, let alone having to learn and grow as an individual. I got bulldozed by the system and lost within it.
Personalized learning needs to take into account the strengths, and interests, and passions of students and adjust to their learning needs to help them succeed.
When you’re in a class and you feel like you’re an outlier, it really makes you afraid to do anything in that class or to be active in that class.
College isn’t for everybody. Trade school isn’t for everybody. So, there are different ways that you can go about making a living now, how you choose to live your life. I feel like if we have more conversations, that would help a lot. Just so we get that personalized learning.
It’s about being more mindful of who you’re talking to. Some people are ahead of others and some people are below. I feel like we shouldn’t be making fun of other people for being lower.
There’s an obvious difference in equality for different schools, but I also think it’s a big part of the state of mind of students. When they come to school, they either feel like it’s a punishment or it’s an opportunity. Schools need to make it more apparent that it’s an opportunity and an advantage to go to school and learn something new.
While producers from Remake Learning, SLB Radio and KnowledgeWorks supported these new podcast hosts through technical assistance, background research and stipends, the students are very much in charge of the topics and interviews, which has led to great results. Starting on May 5, 2022, and continuing for five more episodes over the course of a month, students are discussing the issues of equity in education.
High school students Delena and Henry talk with Aura, Alex and Roma about what equitable, personalized learning means to them, valuing mental and social health, disability accommodation and identity in their experiences. They give advice for students and educators to help advocate for what students need.
High school student Mohammad joins Delena and Henry to talk about equity around personalized learning, standardized testing, updating curriculum, diversifying after school activities, self worth, and supports during the teacher shortage. Mohammad stresses the importance of listening and mental health.
Henry is joined by high schooler Brendan to host guests Rishi and Daniel as they discuss equity in education. They discuss how personalized learning supports curiosity so that students can truly learn, social and historical implications in what students learn, cross-content skill development, students supporting other students and classroom management according to class size and class emotional and mental state.
Junior Ethan asks guests junior Michael and graduates Lee and Jhordan about their experiences, or lack of, personalized learning in school and how equity differs from equality in education means to them. They discuss the pressure and meaninglessness of grades, how meaningful Black teachers are in the classroom – even for White students – and the power of developing a relationship between teacher and student to understand who they are and how they learn.
Junior Tian hosts this episode featuring sophomores Leonard and Gordon. They discuss what makes learning fun for them, the inequities of tracking and culture of inclusivity and belonging. One common thread: Educators need to ask – and provide – students what they need to succeed.
Pittsburgh Westinghouse High School freshmen Jasmine, Vaughn, Emanuel and Cameron talk about what they would have loved to see for their own personalized learning experience, creating safe spaces and the vast differences in opportunities and media representation between schools in the same district.