Looking after the school: a critical analysis of personalisation in education

Placing the student at the centre has long been a concern of teachers and educators. Today, however, it is also a concern of policymakers. Various terms point in that direction: customised education, student-centred education, appropriate education, personalised education, personalised learning paths. However, it is not only educational motives that lie at the basis of a more student-centred approach. At the forefront are considerations of efficiency, effective­ness and maximising employability. They are the symptom of fundamental shifts: from an educational institution to a learning environment, from disciplining to monitoring and from normalisation to personalisation. 
Using pedagogical touchstones, this report explores the possibilities and limits of personalisation in education. The key questions are: What about freedom? What about equality and education? And above all: what about the school? After all, the challenge is clear: placing the student more central very aften means placing the school less central. But, the authors wonder: what if de-schooling is not in the student's interest? What if de-schooling and person­alisation puts freedom, equality and education at risk?

Simons, M. & Masschelein, J. (2021). Looking after the school: a critical analysis of personalisation in education. Leuven: Education, Culture & Society Publishers.