Martínez-Otero Pérez, V. (2021). La educación personalizada del estudiante [Personalized education of students]. (Martha Leticia Gaeta González).

Martínez-Otero Pérez, V. (2021).

La educación personalizada del estudiante [Personalized education of students].

Octaedro. 191 pp.

All education has two functions: hu­man development and meeting social needs. This complex task involves a form of education which constantly seeks hu­man dignity, in which an in-depth knowl­edge of students and an acceptance of individual differences are considered, be­yond the concern for academic achieve­ment. In keeping with this laudable ob­ jective, the book Personalized education of students, by Valentín Martínez-Otero Pérez, does a thorough analysis of mat­ters relating to the personalized educa­tion of students, focusing his attention on adolescence, as a crucial period for human development with specific educa­tional needs. From a perspective of in­tegration, in this publication the author takes significant scientific and human­istic approaches based on various con­ceptions regarding education, document review, educational experience and re­search at an international level.

This is a work which is ultimately aimed at the individuals who play a key role in improving education: people in charge of education, teachers, families and specially the students themselves. As such, the work is set out in a modern for­mat which, following years of study and research carried out by the author on this subject matter, also considers the impact of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandem­ic on the field of education, as well as the challenges that this unusual and unexpect­ed health crisis has instilled on education around the world. In these circumstances, there are people who strive to study and others who are trying to teach. However, the digital, social and economic divide has also become clearer. In addition to the psy­chological impact that lockdown itself has brought about and which combines with the impact already seen. It is therefore ex­tremely useful to read this book in order that the academic community which is in­terested in improving education is able to minimize the consequences of this impact as much as possible by means of the data, reflections and recommendations present­ed by professor Martínez-Otero.

This commitment to improving edu­cation involves a significant and radical change, as in addition to meeting current social needs, the teaching and learning process is aimed to be adapted to the in­terests and needs of learners for the har­monic development of their personality. Thus, with a holistic view of the education process, the work is organised into three topics to help readers understand matters relating to the personalized education of adolescents. In this regard, by means of an introductory chapter, the philosophical foundations for individuals and the way in which these affect education are estab­lished. Afterwards, the author focuses on adolescent psychology and, furthermore, on the pedagogy of affectivity and on the implications on education resulting from the connection between intelligence and affectivity. Lastly, teacher training is set out as a significant element for the person­alized education of adolescent students. Although this last point seems an ambi­tious and exhaustive task, from a human­ist perspective, professor Valentín Martín­ez-Otero manages to split the various key topics into the seven chapters that make up the book. Each one deals with the cur­rent educational challenges that call for a change in education culture, demanding that education be personalized.

As the main approach of the work, the first chapter of the book deals with the attention to individuals from a humanist point of view, integrating their essence and their existence. Based on humanist pedagogic grounds, authors such as Víc­tor García Hoz, the author of this work, emphasizes the humanizing/personalizing nature of education, in addition to con­sidering the commitment of pedagogy to personal improvement, to happiness, to love, to freedom and to community. These aspects, as a whole, are of an introductory and fundamental nature in order to cover the other chapters.

In chapter two, professor Martínez-Ote­ro focuses on adolescence, considered a special stage characterized by significant changes and therefore with specific educa­tional needs, therefore emphasis is placed on its biological, psychological and social aspects, in order to offer some guidance to teachers, to education professionals and to the students themselves so that adoles­cents have the best school and life experi­ence possible.

Furthermore, chapter three provides a series of conceptual reflections on affectiv­ity, which is essential for the development of young people, and the main affective experiences are covered in this field: emo­tions, feelings, passions and motivations. The systematization of the aforemen­tioned has a significant effect on optimum learning, healthy relationships and the personal well-being of students.

Chapter four is in keeping with the previous chapter, as it focuses more close­ly on matters related to self-esteem and self-concept, based on the recognition give to the relevance of dealing with these con­cepts from an educational perspective, by means of emotional education. With this in mind, the role of the teacher is under­lined as a significant element in the ap­propriate development of students, the display of which has a positive bearing on the social relationships and the academic performance of the aforementioned.

Subsequently, chapter five does a thorough analysis of the connection be­tween intelligence and affectivity. In accordance with the main objective of the book, as stated by professor Martín­ez-Otero, the most important thing is to bear in mind the complex link between cognitive and emotional processes, as well as the need to keep clarifying these links. The author therefore considers the concept of “affective intelligence”, based on the line of research that he himself has been developing for decades, in or­der to offer some guidelines from these approaches which are aimed at teachers and drive healthy professional develop­ment, the appropriate course of which intends to contribute to the personalized education of students.

In addition to these points, chapter six covers the current problems caused by adolescents’ inappropriate and exces­sive use of the internet (cyberaddiction and cyberbullying) which call on the edu­cational communities, including parents, to take preventive measures. In this re­spect, guidelines are given for appropri­ate use of the internet from a perspective of dialogue and commitment to integral education.

Lastly, chapter seven defends teach­er training beyond the technical aspects, while considering the cognitive and axio­logical dimensions of the aforementioned. To this end, the author makes some notes on five models which may be used in the organisation of teacher training. Personal­ized education indeed requires teachers to be trained in order to offer means to stu­dents so that, both in and out of school, they can face the challenges and demands of an interconnected and globalised society like that in which they happen to live.

All in all, this book is a significant formative and informative resource which states the relevance of personalization as a pedagogic conception, particularly in adolescence so that, beyond teaching tech­niques, the individual needs of students are considered, from a perspective of diversity and meeting the demands of today’s soci­ety. This is an inspiring work which suc­cessfully puts across its strong and hopeful message of improving education by means of personalizing education. If it could be summarized in just one quote, perhaps the words of professor Martínez-Otero in chapter one would be the most suitable:

Real pedagogy demonstrates its commit­ment to improving human life, to its per­fection. Its increasing efforts emerge from a healthy optimism, a necessary trust in the possibilities to develop. People are not perfect, but they are perfectible. The coor­dination between science and ethics offers a sound platform for all educational theory. Without the concurrence of rational and axiological elements, the pedagogic discour­se will end up dying out and, of course, may not encourage personal development (p. 31).

Martha Leticia Gaeta González