“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” (The White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass).
Chapter 12 invites us to open our perspectives and our classrooms to the possible learning environments that we can structure with a creative and iterative mindset. Just as we have needed years to figure out our best teaching styles, these models of learning will take time and repetition to find their “happy places” in our classrooms.
In the Individual Playlist Model each student has his/her own list of learning goals, and each student transitions from station to station completing different tasks
(not necessarily visiting each station). A school in Brooklyn accomplishes this by using 4 classrooms to make space for all of the varying skills focus. In addition, the authors suggest providing the students with learning surveys ahead of time that give the students a sense of their learning strengths and comfort zones; this information can be used when structuring their learning plan. Offering a variety of learning modes at the different stations is key to gleaning student buy-in and to optimize engagement. The highlights of this learning model include an intense personalization of learning and pace. On the other hand, one challenge is the potential to lose the community aspect of the classroom since all of the students are working at separate skills and rhythms. As a result, including collaborative objectives and work stations should be part of the planning process.
The A La Carte Model allows students, during a prescribed time in the daily schedule, to participate in an online course provided by a third party. This model could fill several needs, including allowing students to study areas of interests that are not part of the school’s curriculum. However, the set-up and execution of this model entails specifics; it requires special training since the components are “different than teaching a class” (179). Furthermore, the third parties would need to be proven educationally sound, and the ongoing success of the programs would depend on the support of an onsite facilitator whose chief responsibility is to ensure that students are matched well with course offerings and understand their academic responsibilities.
Questions for Discussion
Instructions & Tools