Ch 5: Flexing Your Pathways

Ah, that second pillar. Flexible pathways are key to engaging learning. They’re all those great ways we engage students actively and meaningfully.

According to the Vermont Agency of Education:

Flexible Pathways are any combination of high-quality expanded learning opportunities, including academic and experiential components, which build and assess attainment of identified proficiencies and lead to secondary school completion, civic engagement and postsecondary readiness. Flexible pathways allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to tasks of personal interest as part of the personalized learning planning process. This does not refer to a finite menu of pre-selected pathways from which a student must choose, but also includes school-based course offerings, virtual or blended learning opportunities, community or work-based learning opportunities, and post-secondary learning options among others.

Key in this definition is flexibility.

All of the strategies we share here and in this chapter  are engaging ways to help students access their interests, connect to wider communities, and develop their unique learning pathways with support and guidance.

At the Fayston School, in Fayston VT, students pursue passion projects as part of their PLPs. These, in turn, are precursors to exploring what a flexible pathway might look like for each student.

Say for instance, you as a student are passionate about making electronic music. You’re interested in what goes into making a mixtape. The idea of a flexible pathway is to help you find a way to explore the real world experience of making electronic music, and of releasing a mixtape, in a way that continues to support you as a holistic and well-rounded learner.

Also, we talked with some students at Randolph Union Middle/High School, in Randolph VT, who were exploring this very topic as precursors to starting down their own flexible pathways for an episode of our podcast. Give it a listen!)

But overall, the idea is that students are Doing. Creating. Reflecting. And Sharing with authentic audiences.

Food for thought

  • What powerful pedagogies do you use to engage your students in authentic learning opportunities?
  • How is this experience showing flexible pathways for learning?

Now tell us

Take the quiz on flexible pathways!

Designing flexible pathways for early adolescents

Why should we create flexible pathways for students?
What are some engaging pedagogies?
Designing flexible pathways for early adolescents
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Next up: what does it look like to teach with engaging pedagogies for all?