Season 3: Episode 9 – Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind with Allison Zmuda and Bena Kallick [Podcast]

In this episode, we spoke with Allison Zmuda and Bena Kallick, authors of the ASCD book, Students at the Center: Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind.

Allison is a full-time education consultant specializing in curriculum, assessment and instruction. She is passionate about and excited to be a part of the personalized learning movement, working with educators to make learning for students challenging, possible, and worthy of the attempt. Allison has authored quite a few books for ASCD, Jossey-Bass and Teachers College Press. In 2015, her book Learning Personalized led her to develop a website for educators interested in growing their understanding of personalized learning.

Bena is the co-director of the Institute for Habits of Mind and program director for Eduplanet21, a company dedicated to online professional learning and curriculum development based on the Understanding by Design framework. Dr. Kallick has authored books for ASCD and Corwin with a focus on Habits of Mind. Her work with Art Costa led to the development of the Institute for Habits of Mind, an international organization dedicated to transforming schools into places where thinking and the Habits of Mind are taught, practiced, and valued, and become infused into the culture of the school and community.

Here is what we talked about:

  1. What is the big question behind Students at the Center? What prompted you to author the book focused on personalized learning and Habits of Mind? 
  2. We hear the phrase “personalized learning” quite a bit these days, and with varying interpretations. In the book, you provide clarity to readers on what personalized learning is and looks like. Share with us, broadly, how you frame personalized learning and how the Habits of Mind support personalized learning. 
  3. Why is personalized learning such a critical shift for our learners? What would you say is the urgency for us to make learning more learner-centered? 
  4. In your book, you clarify the difference between standards and competencies. Can you explain that for our listeners?
  5. Can you talk to us a little bit about what personalized learning actually looks like in classrooms? Share with us a story or two of personalized learning you’ve seen in action in the classroom. 
  6. What is the role of feedback in personalized learning and how does it connect to the Habits of Mind? 
  7.  Moving from a traditional school-centered paradigm to a learner-centered, personalized paradigm is a shift in mindset. What suggestions would you give to leaders as we work to make this transformation a reality? 
  8. What’s next for Allison and Bena? What are you working on now that you’d like to share?

Join in the conversation!

Each episode we leave you with a question or two to think about with the idea of provoking conversation.

This week’s questions:

  1. How has your school or district embraced the Habits of Mind and embedded them in a vision for personalized learning?
  2. How has your understanding of personalized learning shifted as a result of our conversation today?

You can join the conversation by leaving a comment below or by using the hashtag #TLTalkRadio on Twitter.

Explore Additional Resources:

In this episode, we provided many resources pertaining to Bena and Allison’s work.  Additional information available at:

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