February 28, 2020 Last updated February 28th, 2020 1,077 Reads share

Teach to One: Personalizing Math for Every Student

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The world’s foundation rests on new ideas, theories, and approaches that cultivate modernism and drive humanity forward. “Out with the old, in with the new” is a credo fitted to education as well as global science. No more are educational institutions bound by traditional teaching methods that treat all students one and the same. Personalization is the newest educational tool, and it’s helping students understand material they once deemed impossible to grasp.

Traditional Methods

Every student has their favorite and least favorite subjects. They may vary from grade to grade and year to year, but there is one subject that remains more reviled than others, even over passing decades. Math is often touted as impossible to understand and designed with the sole purpose of making students suffer.

Traditional education has a specific math curriculum teachers must follow for each grade level. Every student is expected to learn and master the fundamentals of their grade and carry that information through to the next level. But not all students learn at the same speed and with the same comprehension. Often as students advance from one grade to the next, there are learning gaps.  

Without filling in those gaps, they only grow bigger. Students get left behind as teachers push the new curriculum onto them, treating every student as though they possessed equal knowledge and understanding. The more advanced the math becomes, the further behind students fall. 

Innovative Learning

Heading the charge in the modernization and customization of math curriculum is Teach to One. Cofounded by Joel Rose and Christopher Rush, Teach to One’s innovative learning model recognizes that every student has distinct needs and learning abilities, addressing them with customized programs that allow students to master the fundamentals, develop new skills, and ensure comprehension of the material before moving on to the next level.

Teach to One aims to create a unique learning environment that blends technology with classroom experience for real-world comprehension. Instead of treating all students in the same grade level identically, Teach to One separates students with similar comprehension levels into smaller groups where teachers lead them in exercises based on their current understanding. They receive the benefit of personalized learning through human interaction with teachers and peers, balanced with innovative technology that pushes them towards greater comprehension. 

Teach to One’s Daily Schedule

Teach to One’s smart algorithms are a big part of their innovative learning model, enabling students’ daily schedules to be designed around their needs. Every time a student sits down to work, Teach to One’s specialized software records how well they’ve mastered the material, accounts for their learning style, and deduces their success in continuing down the current path. The software is completely adaptable to a student’s changing needs, allowing their potential to be maximized instead of limited.

When a student first enters a Teach to One area, a digital screen advises them on which station to begin at and what lessons will be covered. The lessons may be completely individual or designed as a group exercise. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Students continue working at this first station until they hear a buzzer, which signals it’s time to move on.

The second station always differs from the first in both topic and the manner in which the student is to complete it, providing a well-rounded lesson. When both stations are finished, students are given an exit slip to confirm their understanding of the day’s lessons. If their comprehension matches or exceeds expectations, they advance. If there is still a lack of understanding, they repeat the lesson in new ways until comprehension is achieved.

Because emotions and learning are inherently linked, part of Teach to One’s methodology involves building up a student’s social-emotional learning. It’s with this in mind that students work in larger settings. Even when working individually, they are surrounded by their peers. Seeing others achieve positive results and learning to establish productive relationships crafts positive feelings about math, resulting in an easier time learning the subject matter.

It’s not ego boosting, it’s teaching students how to get over the mental battle many face when it comes to math. Teach to One knows students who believe they can succeed are far more likely to do so. A positive social-emotional learning experience stays with students across multiple subjects, ages, and times of life, including college.

Teach to One aims to bring students up to their grade level and beyond, ensuring they reach their full potential and are college ready when the time comes. The program isn’t concerned with counting test scores the same way traditional math programs are. They’re concerned with two things: do you understand the material, and are you ready to move ahead. If a student can answer yes to both those questions, they’re one step closer to being college ready.

Moving Forward

Teach to One continues to grow. As of 2015, the program was in schools across all four US time zones. So far, the program has demonstrated a marked improvement in learning within participating schools, sparking further interest in expanding Teach to One’s program to include all grade levels as well as science. 

Educational needs rise with the population, and innovative techniques are needed to resolve issues that traditional systems don’t or can’t address. Teach to One’s personalized technological and human approach creates positive feelings for both students and teachers struggling with math curriculum, ensuring a successful educational experience and more opportunities for advancement. 

Is Teach to One a program all schools should adopt? When you’ve had a student who’s struggled for years to understand the most basics of math, their sudden comprehension is like hitting lottery gold. Teach to One enables students to thrive, teachers to teach, and schools to achieve. It’s the trifecta of success. That alone makes it worth consideration.


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Ethan Rhodes

Ethan Rhodes

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