Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities and Exceptionalities

Abstract Personalized Learning has become more prevalent as an instructional approach in classrooms across California. Studies clearly establish the fact that children learn differently, and that using the same methodology in delivering instruction to all students is increasingly ineffective. In implementing the use of Personalized Learning, teachers create learning style options for their students, in order to maximize the learning process. Some of the learning choices provided for students include (a) working independently, (b) working with a buddy, (c) using an educational computer program, and (d) using specialized paper and pencil. All of these choices require frequent check-ins with the teacher. Personalized Learning Folders can assist students in assuming more accountability and control for how they learn and internalize academic content material. Simply described, students and teachers meet at the beginning of each week to decide as a team what the student will be working on, as well as how the work will be completed. Within each Personalized Learning folder, the student has access to (a) the standard for that subject lesson, (b) learning style/modality options, (c) reference and resource materials, and (d) physical materials needed to complete the assignment. Accessible folders organized, with all the required materials in one place, allows students to focus on the lesson using their preferred modality or learning style, to remain on task, to complete the assigned work, and to achieve mastery in small increments. The project results bore out the value and usefulness of implementing Personalized Learning Folders in that the students were able to refer back to their folders for references and resources independent of the teacher. If they needed assistance from the teacher, they could utilize the teacher check-ins as needed to answer questions and get help with next steps. The folders allowed students more autonomy and accountability for their own learning while maintaining support from the teacher. Keywords: Modalities, personalized learning, student-centered, students with exceptionalities, students with special needs.