Whenever I talk to teachers about My-Learning the same queries comes up – “What about Jimmy who is hideously behaved?” “What about Sally who has no English?” “What about Bobby who has high learning needs?” “What about children from low socio-economic areas?” “What about younger children?” How will all these children cope in a My-Learning classroom?
In short, I’m not entirely sure. I do know from my own experience that children who don’t have English as their first language, those who have behavioural problems and those who have learning and social needs have not only coped well in my classroom but grown hugely under this pedagogical system. I think the key is scaffolding all children, but especially those who you know will have difficulties. Then it’s important to fade this scaffolding away gently so the children can have success. From my experience, such children thrive on having this success as they feel so proud of their achievements. Another key idea is that children will rise to your expectations. They know I believe in them and will help them if they need it and will therefore meet my expectations for them. Lastly, this kind of programme allows for such differentiation and individualisation that, if you did have a child in the class who struggled immensely, you could tailor make a programme just for them, easily. My (biased) thought is that My-Learning actually is better for such children for this very reason.
However, what I don’t know is how children from lower socio-economic areas would cope. In my humble view, children are children and if you have a whole school culture of high behavioural expectations, high academic expectations and formative assessment practices you should be able to have success. I’d appreciate your comments on this though. As for younger children, I just don’t know. I do know that other self-directed learning models have been successful with younger children in the past and continue to work well. I also know that My-Learning has been implemented successfully in other schools from year 5-8 but again, I would appreciate your feedback on this.