We were on our family camping trip at Prince Gallitzin State Park in Pennsylvania. We wake up the first morning and my brother decides he is going to cook individual omelets for everyone. Now there are 14 people and he is thinking he will make each person their own ““made to order” omelet. Everyone will just have to choose their filling. We had onions, peppers, ham, mushrooms and cheese
I've cooked for large groups of people where I have tried to personalize the meal for each person. I understand how much work is involved. My brother knows how much work is involved. He doesn't really care. He just wants each person to get what they want.
After a few omelets, my dad walks up to my brother and says “I don’t want to tell you how to do your job…” and we all know what comes next… “but, if I was you I would find out what everybody wanted and then mix the fillings up in the eggs and just scramble them. It will be faster and it’s all the same anyway.”
As I’m watching this all unfold it dawns on me that this is very much like personalized learning in education. We want to provide a personalized learning environment for our students because we know it’s best for them, but in the end we start looking for ways to make it easier for the teacher and we end up with something that is not really personalized at all. At the end of the day it seems like too often we take the easy way out. Doing what's best for students and learning is not always easy and shortcuts shouldn't always be taken.