How to Teach Now: Five Keys to Personalized Learning in the Global Classroom

How to Teach Now: Five Keys to Personalized Learning in the Global Classroom

How to Teach Now: Five Keys to Personalized Learning in the Global Classroom

How to Teach Now: Five Keys to Personalized Learning in the Global Classroom


In this book, William Powell and Ochan Kusuma-Powell provide a practical map to navigate some of today's most complicated instructional challenges: How do you help all students succeed when every classroom is, in effect, a global classroom? And what does a successful education look like in a world that is growing smaller and flatter every day?

Drawing on research and years of experience in international schools, the authors identify five critical keys to personalizing learning for students who have wildly different cultural, linguistic, and academic backgrounds:

• Focus on your students as learners through systematic examination of their cultural and linguistic identities, learning styles and preferences, and readiness.

• Focus on yourself as a teacher and investigate your own cultural biases, preferred teaching style and beliefs, and expectations.

• Focus on your curriculum to identify transferable concepts that will be valuable and accessible to all students and further their global competence.

• Focus on your assessments to ensure cultural sensitivity and improve the quality of the formative data you gather.

• Focus on your collegial relationships so that you can effectively enlist the help of fellow educators with different experiences, backgrounds, skills, and perspectives.

The way to teach now is to focus on your students both as individuals and as members of a multifaceted, interdependent community. Here, you'll learn how to design and deliver instruction that prepares students not just to meet standards but to live and work together in our complicated, 21st century world.


Over the last four decades, we, Ochan and Bill, have taught children and young adults in the United States, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. We have worked with student populations that were very diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, linguistic background, socioeconomic status, and religious faith. These students also brought remarkable learning diversity to our classrooms. Some were in the early stages of learning English. Others had learning disabilities, remarkable talents, academic gifts, or attention issues. Many were experiencing profound relocation stress as they moved from country to country and school to school.

More recently, we have devoted our time to the professional learning of teachers in international schools around the world. We have had the pleasure and privilege of working with thousands of teachers in more than 40 countries. From Tashkent to Tianjin, from Siem Reap to São Paulo, all of the teachers we have met enriched our institutes with their unique experiences and backgrounds.

Amazingly, amid all this diversity, a clear pattern has emerged. Irrespective of nationality, culture, religion, gender, or the type of school in which they work, all of the most effective teachers we have met teach with both a local and a global context in mind. They focus on knowing the individual student and personalizing instruction to match that student’s needs. At the . . .

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