Directed learning, or teaching to the test usually results in pupils passing the exams and jumping through the hoops that the educational system requires of them. But it doesn’t prepare them at all for life beyond the classroom – and in most cases it squeezes out any passion, enjoyment or spark they might have had for learning in the first place.
Independent learners have abilities that will stand them in good stead both during and beyond their education such as their ability to:
- Acquire and deploy information
- Communicate effectively using different media
- Organise themselves
- Problem solve and
- Relate to others
One of the most important roles of the teacher is to promote independent learning. There are a number of practices you can build into your teaching to encourage independent learning during every lesson. These include:
- Giving pupils choices so they can reflect on their own interests and preferences
- Encouraging group work so that learners can learn from each other
- Collaborate with pupils to set shared learning goals
- Involve pupils in lesson planning
- Encourage pupils to reflect and plan in learner diaries
- Encourage self and peer editing before work is handed in
So in short, the teacher doesn’t become redundant once independent learning becomes firmly embedded. In fact, quite the contrary is true. The teacher’s role becomes more important than ever. It does, however, change beyond all recognition.