The student is a co-worker on the job of learning. The student has the capacity to resist efforts by the school and its teachers to ‘make you learn’. Student effort carries the largest potential for significant gain in learning. Students make that discretionary effort when motivated to do so. So motivation is central.
School in its traditional form is not designed to maximize motivation. The effort to maximize motivation requires change, innovation, in the approach to teaching—away from traditional whole-group instruction. Students differ in many respects, are motivated by different things. The teacher’s effort must adapt to personalize learning according to these differences.
Teachers must get good and current information about their individual students. Groupings of students must be small enough, and teacher-student relationships must be continuous enough, for the teacher to get to know the attainment levels, personality, interests, aptitudes and motivations of the students as individuals. The time and the technology available must enable the teacher to adapt the learning to the pace at which each student is able to move.
What Will Result?
Achievement should rise, as those students that need more time get more time, and as those who can move faster do move faster. Aptitudes and abilities differ; different students will move more rapidly or more slowly in different fields. Special ed placements should fall; especially those in effect caused by the traditional targeting of instruction to the modal group in the class. Disruptive student behavior should diminish.