Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Training students to be independent learners

Much of the start of the school year is spent training students to be independent learners who ask questions when they don't understand, utilize multiple "intelligent assistants" when completing work, establish positive study routines, make good choices, and work collaboratively to optimize learning. In a sense, I want the students to be the driver's of their education, not me, other teachers, or their parents. What do we do to help children make this transition.

Ask me, email me, and share ideas
We encourage students to not stay stuck and to ask questions when they don't understand. We welcome questions during class time as well as via email after school. We welcome students' ideas about how to make the learning more engaging.

Utilize the class website, our virtual classroom
The classroom website has countless links to information that can support student learning. The website can be accessed from almost anywhere 24/7.

Work with friends
The best learning often occurs when students are working side by side with friends during the school day or after school. They learn a lot as they discuss assignments and complete the work.

Choose well
Generally students have a choice about where they work, who they work with, and what they will work on to learn the focus material. We continually work to help students make the kinds of choices that optimize their learning.

We coach students along in a large number of ways to build their foundation of skill, concept, knowledge, and a positive, helpful mindset for learning. This coaching can occur when we sit side-by-side with a student, respond to their completed assignments, small group work, via email or with the whole class.

The goal is to encourage students to be independent, skilled learners who know how to use the many online and offline tools, resources, and people around them to learn skills, develop knowledge, solve problems, and create.