Self-paced individualized learning
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As teachers, we strive to help every student be successful and develop a love for learning. We want, and expect, that every child can and will be successful. However, we are still falling short of our goal. Too much time is spent on whole group instruction that only reaches the middle. Students do not learn at the same rate or with the same methods as their peers. I propose the solution to this is developing a self-paced, individualized classroom. A classroom in which students are allowed to learn at their own pace and take control of their learning. In this study I analyzed data taken from my classroom of 7th and 8th grade mathematics students. I studied how taking control of their learning affected their attitude and understanding of mathematics. I observed student behaviors, conversations and interactions. I designed units, daily guides and reflection sheets that students completed to monitor their learning. The results showed increases in students' abilities to learn independently. Mathematics learning increased. The study showed an increase of between 11 -55% more math standards attained during the school year. Besides the mathematical knowledge gained, my students learned how to use an informational text (math book) to gain understanding and clarity about a topic. They learned how to take initiative and ask for help when needed. Students learned to trust one another and seek help and lessons from peers. The results suggest that it may be possible to have a successful, independent self-paced learning environment in mathematics.