Engaging the Educationally Disengaged—Personalized Learning  Holds Promise

She sits in class seemingly apathetic about learning. Often, you find her reading something else when she is supposed to be listening to the lesson. When called on, she answers your questions without hesitation and without offering more than the expected response. She is quiet, yet her impatience with the time spent in class is almost palpable. She has so much energy, yet you don’t see it in her classwork. She completes enough work to squeeze by with a B average but you know she is capable of so much more. She turns in writing assignments that allow you a glimpse of the person behind the bored façade, but, often stop short of letting you see much more about what she thinks, feels or wants.

The Educationally Disengaged

At home it is a battle to get her to complete her homework. She is more than capable, but uninterested. She doesn’t care about excelling and getting good grades. She just wants to know what your bottom line is so she can meet that bottom line with as little effort as possible. If a C is ok, it is a C she brings home on the report card. After all, “someone has to be average”, right?

Have you ever had one of these students in class, or do you currently parent this type of child? I have. I’m talking about children, teens, and young adults who aren’t teacher-pleasers. It isn’t that they act out in class or have difficulty learning, and they aren’t social butterflies—they are just educationally disengaged.

Educationally disengaged students can be frustrating for teachers and parents. They aren’t motivated to do well in school by the extrinsic approval of teachers or parents. Figuring out their intrinsic motivation is not easy. As a teacher you know they are capable of so much more than what they are happy achieving. As a parent you wonder if they will make the most of their potential, and as they enter high school—you just hope something or someone will keep them motivated enough to graduate!

Personalized Learning Innovations Hold Promise for Disengaged Students

Innovative programs and initiatives exist—now, more than ever, to help re-engage these students. If these students are disengaged out of boredom or lack of relevance, rather than learning or behavioral issues, then personalized learning opportunities may provide a better fit for these students.

Personalized learning isn’t just taking an online course or enrolling in a virtual school. Personalized learning is so much more! It can take place in any classroom at any school if it is thoughtfully integrated into instructional and course options for students.  Personalized learning can also take place outside of the classroom when a course of study is thoughtfully designed and connected to the workplace or civic and community opportunities. Academic rigor combined with connections to relevance, connections to interests, and connection to others, are key aspects of designing personalized learning for educationally disengaged students.

Where can you find this type of personalized learning? Early College High Schools combine academic rigor with a supportive environment that allow students to pursue challenging college course work while completing a high school diploma. Early College High Schools likeInnovations Early College High School allow students to earn an Associate’s Degree or Industry Certification while completing their high school education. This saves families money on college or technical school tuition, allows students to get support in college coursework within a connected and caring community of teachers, connects their learning directly to their future interests. Students can work at an accelerated pace rather than sit through whole class lessons to meet general seat-time requirements.

Blended learning, another form of personalization, combines face-to-face instruction with technology enhanced instruction for students of all ages and grade levels. What is blended learning? Learn more about blended learning and schools with different blended learning models at the Blended Learning Universe.

Join us as we explore innovative solutions for engaging the educationally disengaged! Share with us how you are innovating to engage more students more deeply in their learning.