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2016 Edina Learning Institute Monday Keynote: Pernille Ripp: The Tenets of Personalized Learning

Pernille Ripp, educator and author of Empowered Schools, Empowered Students, was the opening keynote at the Edina Learning Institute

She started by inviting the participants to connect with her, as she 

If we were in school right now...

  • Don't choose who we sit with
  • Don't have food and/or drink
  • Don't use the tools you might want to
She fell in love with the building, staff and school that she works in. Teaching 7th graders has been her greatest challenge, but also most rewarding. Her students are the reason she is here, and why she advocates for changing education.

Growing up in Denmark, her first english words were "yes, no, and bathroom!" 

"I used to think that when students were disengaged, it was their own fault!"

Then someone told her, "You cannot change the students, but you CAN change the way you teach!!"

Would you want to be a student in your own classroom?

Her daughter on the 5th day of Kindergarten said, "I hate school..." The teacher, said, "I've never had that issue, so it must not be true. 

Whether it was true or not didn't matter! What matters is the perception that students have. We need to acknowledge this and get to the root of the problem as to why they perceive that.

"I wish all teachers knew that we don't think like them."  
7th grader

When 2/12 high schoolers say they are bored in every class, there is a problem!
A Gallup poll showed that student engagement dropped from 76% in elementary school to 44% in high school.

If kids continue to be bored with school, they will grow up to have children and instill that attitude.

She quoted from Hacking Leadership

"The problem: we set schools up for adults, not for kids."
Ida, one of her twins took her first steps at 11 months. Her son Oscar took much longer.

Kids learn at different rates, and we seem to keep forgetting that!

Ripp reminded us that WE have control over our classrooms and how much control students can have over their learning!

Your district is asking you to try something new. How lucky you are! As teachers, you have the right to fail, as long as you pick yourself up!

Ripp then talked about the three pillars of Personalized Learning

Community-The foundation of it all
We cannot personalize if our students don't trust us!!
Teachers should do more activities that cause students get up, move around and bond with each other. -Emily A
We need to be co-learners with our students. This can be exhausting!

Teachers; Do your students trust you?
Administrators; Does your staff trust you?

How do you know? 
When they start sharing their truths!

Students feel protected, cared for, challenged, respected, and that they matter!

Choice: A pillar of personalization
Student: "We need to be able to know how we learn best and then apply that to all of our school things."
Choice includes:
Choice in engagement
Choice in product
Choice in setting
Choice in timeline
Choice in assessment

Students need to have choice in at least one of these at any one time.

Student Voice
What is the biggest barrier? Teachers speak 60-75% of the time!
If you're going to lecture, tell them why!
Students should talk more than the teacher on the first day of school!  

Ultimately, she was able to open enroll her child in a different school, and she ended the year loving school. But what about the students that don't have that option....

Ask your kids, "Is this a good class for you?"
Be prepared for an honest response, and grow from it.

We can be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution, but not both.

You only fail when you stop trying. Some days you will recognize that you wouldn't want to be a student in your classroom. 

When you start on the Personalized Learning journey, think only of the first step YOU must take, don't compare yourself with others.

We need to create a classroom that can help kids be successful no matter what a student's start in life is, nor what their life is like outside of the classroom! Teach the child in front of us, not the child we hoped would show up!!


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