How To Encourage Self-Directed Practices In Our Students

Many teachers are desperate to see the active sense-making when students feel more ownership and responsibility for their learning.

How might we move students from needing to be spoon-fed to developing their capacity to become more self-directed?

It starts with a candid reflection on what you are seeing in their behaviors and actions and how it may relate to your instructional designs.

Take a look at the following insights to see what resonates. It might be helpful to engage in a conversation with a colleague or a trusted study group.

Teacher talk does not always engage student learning.

Filling silence with more teacher explanation may be counterproductive if you want to awaken curiosity, activate prior knowledge, and take a responsible risk to share an idea.

Compliance is not equal to self-direction.

Following instructions may reveal students’ willingness to get the assignment done more than assuming responsibility for their own learning.

Students need instruction and strategies for becoming more responsible for their learning.

Expecting students to be self-directed without instruction opportunities to practice and receive feedback limits their capacity to take on the responsibility and commitment to learning.

After reflecting on the previous insights, what have you come up with?

Are there ways you can adjust your engagement with students to encourage them taking responsibility for their own learning?

Comment below!

You may also consider our Habits Personalized Toolkit, Coaching for Self-Directed Learning.

About Allison and Bena

Allison Zmuda and Bena Kallick joined forces in 2014, bringing together personalized learning with Habits of Mind. Their mission is to use what they’re learning to help educators navigate the often messy, challenging, and — at times — discouraging transition from an outdated learning process to one that’s relevant to the teacher and student. Explore their toolkits, which map out a transformative model of personalization that puts students at the center.

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