Rapid City elementary school sidelines traditional style teaching

By  | 

RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA TV) - Teachers at Canyon Lake Elementary School are changing the way they teach and how their students learn.

It’s called mass customized learning and it’s currently in phase two of three, but they are already seeing a difference.

Canyon Lake Elementary Principal, David Swank, says “One of the things that's, that’s really evident if you come during our student interest groups, is you'll see really high levels of engagement. All of our kids are just immersed in things that they really care about and really want to know about. We've also noticed a big change and behaviors. Most educators will tell you that the hardest time to teach is the afternoon because the kids are pretty burned out by that time of the day, but our students are doing things that they really care about and we just don't see the kind of behaviors that you typically see."

Basically, teachers and students were asked what interested them.
Then they were paired up based on similarities rather than assigning the students to teachers at random.

But that’s not all they changed.

"In a traditional setting, time is the constant, and learning is the variable. So basically, say any student that is seven years old should be learning the same thing at the same time because they’re seven years old. And in mass customize learning, we make learning the constant," explains Swank.

Mass customize learning is still on developing stages at the school right now, but educators at Canyon Lake Elementary are hoping this will benefit the kids in the long run.

"At the elementary level, what we're really looking to do is to provide as much as exposure and exploration as possible. And what we hope to have happen is that our students will leave here with expanded sense of possibility and a different outlook on the future," states Swank.

Swank hopes, if these kids are asked if they want to be at school if they didn't have to be that they say yes, because they are enjoying what they are learning.