Using person-centred practices in schools

12 May 2018

I want to revisit this paper, originally published by Helen and others several years ago, that describes the benefits of using person-centered approaches in schools. We're seeing an uptick in interest from families in the United States, taking notice of the benefits of one-page profiles and other person-centered practices.

Personalizing education

A guide to using person centred practices in school

Person-centered thinking tools are essentially methodical ways to ensure that education is meeting the needs of each child or young person, recognizing that each has a unique style of learning, communicating, building relationships and making decisions. The focus on individual children and the range of tools that can be used to put them at the heart of all school planning, could seem a daunting task to teachers, but using person-centered practices pays dividends – contented learners make for happier and more effective schools.

We know from our own experience that person-centered practices can also be powerful when used within schools and colleges. The tools can be used directly with pupils – but can also be applied to school management practices such as staff performance reviews.

Person-centered thinking tools and practices have their foundation in person-centered planning, an approach to social justice and inclusion originally developed to support people with learning disabilities. The Learning Community for Person-Centered Practices ( developed the person-centered thinking tools and they are now evidenced-based practice, used in health and social care.

This document, penned by teachers, practitioners and educational psychologists, describes 14 person-centered thinking tools and practices that can bring enormous benefits to schools and colleges.

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