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Gabriella Cawley
Independent Research
In a classroom environment, it can be difficult for a teacher to individualize their lessons
and account for developmental differences between individual students, especially in classes
with a larger number of students. So, the final product of this research will be a tutoring program
to inform students about the factors of Developmentally Appropriate Practice that are involved in
personalizing education and helping to accommodate their needs in those areas outside of the

The target audience of this program is elementary school children of all educational and
developmental standpoints who need or wish to get more individual accomodation in their
education. Reaching out to students is the most realistic course of action as students would likely
be more open to the information and eager to act on it to improve their own learning.

The program will be conducted through one-on-one meetings with students who have
shown they need or asked for more individual help and focus in their education. These meetings
will give background information on DAP communicated at the elementary school level and help
the students understand in which area they need the most help. The layout of the meetings will be
as follows:
1. Build A Basic Understanding
The researcher will introduce the idea of personalization in the classroom by
defining the word personalization at an elementary level (personalization: noun; to design
something to meet a person's needs or wants). The researcher will ask the student to think
of something that they own that is personalized (ex. notebook or journal with decorated
front cover).
2. Introduce Developmentally Appropriate Practice
The researcher will introduce DAP by breaking down the words:
developmentally= relating to how children learn and grow as they get older; appropriate=
making sure the methods match the levels of development; practice= how the teacher
teaches. The researcher will summarize DAP as a way that teachers can teach to make the
students education more personalized.
3. Define the 3 Core Aspects
The researcher will identify the 3 core considerations: Developmental, Individual
and Cultural. The researcher will ask the student what they think each of the categories
could mean. The researcher will explain that developmental relates to mental and
physical development/progress, individual relates to personal characteristics, and cultural
relates to the relationships between the student, their parent(s) and their teachers.
4. Examine Personal Connections
The researcher will work with the student to identify which of the three aspects
need improvement. The researcher will do this by asking questions such as:
● What academic areas do you feel most confident in?
● What academic areas do you feel least confident in?
● What subjects within those areas do you succeed the most with or struggle
the most with?
● Do you like your teachers?
● Do your parents help you with your homework?
5. Identify Methods for Improvement
The researcher will give recommendations as to how the student can help
themselves outside of the classroom. This will vary depending on the student and their
individual issues.

The organization of a meeting can be adapted and reorganized based on the needs of the
individual student. The researcher will be sure to ask as many questions of the student as
possible and keep them engaged. Ideally, the student will leave the meeting with a better
understanding of how they can help personalize their education inside and out of the classroom
using the principles of DAP.

Logistical Considerations
Finding students to participate in the program will be the primary concern. Most likely,
they will be located through the aid of Ms. Sara Hancock, the 4th grade instructional team leader
and a teacher at Lisbon Elementary School, by asking teachers at the school if they know of any
good candidates for the program. Teacher and parental permission for the child to participate in
the program will likely be necessary. The locations, dates, times and academic subject of focus
for the meetings will differ depending on the child. Information on DAP and its impacts will
need to be compiled and written in a way that is understandable for an elementary school aged
child. An explanation of the program and permission form will need to be written for parents of
prospective participants.