Any teacher who has spent more than a few years in the profession will be exposed to a variety of educational trends. Innovative interventions, burgeoning buzzwords, and ambiguous acronyms are often touted as the next best thing, only to be replaced a short time later with a new trend.

For this reason, it’s easy to become disillusioned about implementing a change in pedagogy; why work to make room for something new when it’s likely to disappear in a short time?

Related content: 3 ways to find time for personalized learning

At first glance, personalized learning is one of these trends. It’s become a focus of professional development in districts across the country, and keynote speakers at conferences are touting its worth. But did you know that personalized learning has actually been around since the 1960s, when Fred Keller developed the Personalized System of Instruction?

In his plan, Keller asserted that effective instruction should incorporate five principles. These principles, including self-paced instruction and working toward mastery, have been echoed in the years since by educational literature and foundations, including the Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) and ISTE.

About the Author:

Denise Shovlin is a secondary English teacher in suburban Philadelphia, PA. In her 14th year of teaching, she has a vested interest in educational technology integration and instructional coaching. She holds a M.Ed. and a certificate in Instructional Learning Technology, and she is currently pursuing a second M.Ed. with a concentration in Educational Technology.


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