The Third Commitment

Make Learning Personal

When we visit schools and talk to students, one of the most disturbing refrains we hear is, “My school is more interested in my test scores than in me.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, research suggests that schools that pay attention to the social and emotional needs of their students post better test results than schools that let the test drive curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Learning is a highly personal act, and a one-size-fits-all approach will not engage the majority of learners in any classroom. In Thoughtful Classroom schools, all teachers have a wealth of ways to learn about the talents, strengths, needs, and aspirations of the students in their classrooms. More important, teachers use what they learn to differentiate instruction, boost student achievement, and give every student a voice in the classroom.

By committing to making learning personal, we can effectively accommodate and challenge all students—so each may learn.