Creating Independent, Self-Directed Learners


Why You Need Independent, Self-Directed Learners

Hey, y'all. Are you going home exhausted at the end of every school day? Guess what, you don't have to! There is a way to get your students to be more self-directed and independent in their learning. This leaves them going home exhausted and excited for all their hard work learning, and you leave rejuvenated and proud at all their growth and accomplishments. 

Don't believe me? It's true. It happens all over the world and it can happen in your classroom, too. Here are five reasons why your students need to be self-directed and independent in their learning. 

1. Self-directed learners become life-long learners

When students learn how to learn on their own, without the direct intervention from adults, they become life-long learners. The whole world opens up for our students when they are able to take initiative for their learning. Most of the information that students would ever need to know is at students' fingertips. Teaching them how to access that information allows students to ask and answer their own questions about nearly anything! Our work happens when they can't find the answers and we get to teach how to problem-solve it. 

2. Self-directed learners construct knowledge that sticks 

Countless research studies have shown that when students construct their own knowledge, meaning they're active participants in their learning, not merely passively receiving information, the learning "sticks" better. When you're interested in something, you retain it more easily. I can remember things I learned during middle school and high school projects many (many) years later because I was invested in the learning. The same holds true for your students. 

3. Self-directed learners are less needy

When you teach your students to how to learn, they become more responsible and independent. They take ownership of their learning and you will see your students begin to blossom. They become accountable for the things they are learning and doing--not just because WE hold them accountable, but because they actually develop accountability on their own. 

4. When your students are self-directed, you can support students in small groups or one-on-one

When your students are focused on their learning, asking and answering their own questions, and teaching or learning with/from each other, you are able to meet with students who may still need support in different areas. It frees you up to confer with your writers, work with a small group of readers, reteach that math concept, lead a small group in an experiment, or support a student developing their own learning plan. Your interruptions (almost) cease. 

5. Self-directed learners use their curiosity for good, and not evil

I know it sounds similar to the first point, but really when your students know how to be self-directed learners, you will have fewer behavior issues because students will be so busy exploring the answers to their questions, instead of causing mayhem because they're "bored." Using open-ended learning explorations creates buy-in, gets students excited, and create more questions in their mind that they become eager to find answers to. It's what many of us always wanted when we decided to go into teaching. 

"Yeah, that's great, but how do we do it?" you ask. Through thoughtful planning and prep work it is possible! (Say that five times fast!) I've set up a quick and easy course that will take you step by step into building the classroom of your dreams. To get started with Creating Independent Learners, head over to the course website here

This process is a journey and you don't have to do it alone. Our Facebook group is full of passionate educators ready to support you in your teaching journey as well. Head over there to join in the fun. 

I hope you have a wonderful day I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay cozy, 

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