A Fifth Grader’s Take on Individualized Learning: Failure is Fun!

Two years ago when Cordell Steiner was in the third grade at a St. Paul suburban school district, he took a class from an entrepreneurial teacher that changed his life.  This five-minute TedX talk by Cordell is worth your time, believe me.

Personalized Learning doesn’t occur only in public charter schools like Venture Academy (see Feb. 10 blogpost).  It happens in public district schools, with the right teacher.

Cordell was a student in Ananth Pai’s third grade class.  Mr. Pai came to Minnesota from India and with his personal skills, created a gaming technology for his students.  For seven years, his students consistently have shown significant gains in reading and math, exceeding gains of peers within the district.

Mr. Pai’s classroom is a model for others.  To know the impact of this work, I introduce you to 10-year-old Cordell Steiner at his TedX talk delivered at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis in October, 2014:

Don’t you love it?  Failure is fun!  Cordell is right.  The most successful people in this world learn more from their mistakes than their successes.  Failure happens.  What’s most important is that we learn from it.

Yes, Cordell is an advanced student.  But that doesn’t make a difference.  With personalized learning, every student is met where they are.  And they learn from one another.  There is no need for age-grading.  This is about “continuous progress” at every child’s own rate of learning.

Personalized learning is powerful!!