Education - Languages
By: - at April 22, 2013

How to Help Students Become Self-Directed

Student raising his hand in classSelf-direction and motivation are indispensable in almost all forms of learning. It has been found that people, given different contexts, may be self-directed and motivated at varying levels at different times. The classroom has been known to promote these traits. The support of the teacher and other social aspects help learners develop persistence, set goals independently, and increases academic performance.

Changes In Education
With the growth of modern technology, education has undergone massive transformations. It has gone way ahead from being teacher-centered to learner-centered. A learner-centered environment demands that self-direction and motivation should first be achieved. With so many courses today being web-based, it is a necessity for most adult learners to develop these characteristics. From the correspondence and postal-based study materials of the previous two decades, learning has been made available through television and computer-based instructions. With its practicality, many materials in education and other relevant professional training programs are now made available online. Opportunities for people to learn at their preferred pace and convenience has been provided by this development. This, however, can only be fully utilized after self-direction is achieved.

So a teacher doesn't waste their time and effort, there are essential things to consider when helping students become self-directed learners.

Build Studentsí Enthusiasm for Involvement
Students on ComputersThe promotion of this important trait may be modeled by teachers through the showcase of what they know about self-directed learning. In the classroom, educators should act as the main promoter by providing opportunities for students to discover what's in store for them as they learn to be independent. Teachers can make use of visual aids like posters to introduce the program by summarizing its benefits and life-long advantages. Making parents aware and having them participate can also double the chances of achieving goals related to self-directed learning.

Evaluate Your Studentsí Sense of Self-direction
Can your students submit assigned tasks on time? As the class continues, teachers now have direct access to monitoring studentsí readiness for self-direction. Observing patterns of class participation and quality of work submitted can aid in identifying the needs for further support and development. When students start to take personal responsibility for completing tasks, submitting them and doing extra work to make outputs better, they are exhibiting the characteristic of readiness. Involvement in activities that require them to work on their own and fulfilling roles-expected outcomes can be great indicators that they are starting to realize self-direction.

Create a Learning Environment Conducive to Develop Self-directed Learning
Studentsí ability and potential develops when they are in a nurturing classroom climate. Teachers should make sure the class is nurturing, inviting and positive, and never intimidating or threatening. Chances to interact freely with class members should be made clear and encouraged. Consequently, let students know the advantages of working with peers, taking oneís role seriously and self-reflection on oneís performance. Class members should be exposed to activities that help foster independence in learning like outside the classroom explorations and sharing ideas with groups. Inculcating in students the importance of challenging oneís self to develop provides a positive motivation for self-direction.

Provide the Right Kind of Feedback
Student FeedbackTeacherís feedback, when given correctly, pushes students to explore their abilities and perform well. This can be noticed on the quality of outputs passed or the level of participation exhibited. As a teacher, one should observe closely studentsí reaction to a certain kind of feedback. Students are most likely to take feedback as guides for ideas, expression of affirmation, and standards for performance, so it is the teachersí task to give ones that are meaningful and clear. Students who already developed self-direction in learning will take this type of feedback positively, work their way through them, and clarify points of confusion. In contrast, those who are not yet ready might take this bitterly. It is essential that the teacher gives feedback that highlights learnersí strength, gives direction to a much wider opportunity for learning and sends a message of availability for assistance.

Reflect on Your Behavior as a Self-directed Learning Facilitator
Teachersí roles have changed with classroom diversification. Different from what used to be the sole storehouse of ideas in class, educators are now taking the roles of being mediators, guides and facilitators towards learning at oneís own pace and style. Constant monitoring or studentsí performance matched with the teacherís strategies can direct educators to understanding clearly what works and what doesn't. Preferences and techniques vary from one teacher to another, but the aims to achieving self-direction remains to be measured by the degree of creativity, self-discipline and responsibility for oneís learning that students demonstrate these qualities in and out the classroom.

Final Words
Do you have students who donít take responsibility for their own actions? Learners who are yet to fulfill self-direction in learning need intervention in many aspects of their school work. Providing them with feedback coupled with clear expressions of expectations facilitate their development. Making a student self-directed does not happen overnight. Instead, it takes support and a conducive environment to be realized. The more involvement the teacher devotes, the better they understand studentsí needs and monitor their progress. Teachersí roles are critical in teaching students to be self-directed. Educators are the main source of motivation so students can start considering the quality of their own activities, and even start to motivate themselves to learn. The readiness to respond to needs and anticipate difficulties to be addressed isnít only an expectation for the teacher but a solid foundation of a program that seeks to develop learners who are motivated, satisfied, encouraged and persistent to explore what tickles their interests.


 

 

 

 

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