Reclaiming Personalized Learning
A Pedagogy for Restoring Equity and Humanity in Our Classrooms
A Joint Publication with Learning Forward
Anthropology & Archaeology | Classroom Applications of Technology | Social Justice
Put the person back in personalization with a touch of humanity.
It’s a paradox: technology to individualize curriculum has made classrooms less personal. Let’s instead trust educators to make learning personal by supporting student agency, self-awareness, and the intimate personal connections found in authentic learning experiences.
In the second edition of this groundbreaking book—newly streamlined, and updated with insights from the pandemic—Paul France presents a vision of humanized personalization that rejects the corporate mindset and instead holds equity and inclusion at its center. France leverages over a decade of experience as a National Board Certified Teacher, education consultant, and education technology developer, sharing the following:
- Practical guidance on designing inclusive learning environments for diverse groups
- Sustainable applications for humanized personalization in curriculum design, assessment, and instruction
- Real-life stories from the author’s experience on both sides of the personalization debate
- A multitude of classroom tools, adaptable to a variety of instructional contexts
Nobody understands the need for humanizing education better than teachers. While educators across the country have learned that inundating students with personalized learning technologies is not the way to go, many don’t know how to personalize learning without them. The time to humanize personalized learning and our classrooms is now—and this book will give you a place to start.
If you want to truly understand what personalized learning is and isn’t, and how to implement it in your classroom, Reclaiming Personalized Learning: A Pedagogy for Restoring Equity and Humanity in Our Classrooms is the book for you! The focus on the whole child and the importance of their social, emotional, and academic development, is helped by the quality of students’ relationships and the context in which they live and learn. As I know well as an NBCT, relationships cannot be disentangled from how learning occurs.
"A compelling and critically important book for our time. Many schools are rushing to offer “personalized learning”, usually assuming that means individualized learning,with limited evidence for its impact. In this wise book Paul Emerich France considers the nature of powerful personalization. With rich stories of teaching and learning he considers ways to create the most positive learning experiences possible."
“In this brilliant book by a dedicated practitioner, Paul France makes a powerful case for humanizing the process of personalized learning and shows us how to do it. He describes how real personalization requires a carefully constructed classroom culture, regular dialogue and social interaction, and individual reflection. This book is a major contribution to the reimagination of learning and teaching for the 21st century and should be essential reading for new and experienced teachers alike."
"In these troubled times, this book is more than a breath of fresh air, it is a call to action. Paul gives us an accessible and sophisticated book that explains how and why we should celebrate the humanity of every single student."
"Personalized learning does not mean simply assigning students piles of independent work. Reclaiming Personalized Learning provides the path for authentic and relevant personalized learning that delivers on the promise of equity. Simply said, students in classrooms where these are implemented will thrive."
"Reclaiming Personalized Learning: A Pedagogy for Restoring Equity and Humanity in our Classrooms is both wise and smart, both visionary and sane. It is both poetic and approachable, both challenging and affirming. Its author is deeply knowledgeable about technology and deeply skeptical of the likelihood that technology-centered pedagogy will better teaching and learning in today’s schools. He is wary of adopting “personalization” as the next new thing, and yet offers a vision of personalization that is restorative.
"It has been a long, long time since I have read a book that has challenged me as often or energized me as deeply as this book has. I wish that same experience for legions of other educators who care to create schools and classrooms that make us all more fully human."
"Beginning 20 years ago, many of us began advocating for personalized learning only to be disappointed by the digital dullness of online worksheets that replaced the printed version. Video playlists were only slightly better. The backlash of interest-based learning created the opposite problem of unstructured unchallenging play.
In his new book, Reclaiming Personalized Learning, Paul France shows us how to create agency and autonomy in the middle ground between authoritarianism and anarchy, both of which act in opposition to personalizing learning. His advice is conceptually sound and practical for all of us still searching for the promise of personalized learning."
Reading this book has been a game changer for me and the staff at Portland Elementary. It continues to challenge our thinking and pushes us closer to our vision that all learners will receive experiences that are tailored to their specific academic, social, and cultural needs. This book is always close by, and I reference it often for inspiration and strategy. This is a must read for anyone looking to deepen rigor and engage EVERY student.