Creating a SDL Classroom
One of the questions I struggle with in my research is whether self-directed learning can be taught to learners. The very nature of self-directed learning means learners ultimately drive the process. However, what if a learner cannot or is unaware of their self-directed learning objectives or even how to “self” learn? What, if any, role can educators play in guiding students to become self-directed learners?
In Teaching and Learning Hand in Hand
, Judi Randi looks at how educators established an environment that encouraged students to be self-directed learners. Educators are also keenly aware that students enter the classroom with different learning styles and as such, they must be willing to adapt their instruction to meet those styles. Learning and teaching, therefore, become a mutual coexisting relationship. Though the paper focuses on two novice teachers and their mentors. The teachers were elementary-level preservice teachers about to start their student teaching practicum. I won’t delve too much into the design study and all the findings though I encourage you to read to the article. I am more interested in how the teachers encouraged and developed students to become self-directed learners. Based on Randi’s conclusions, here are some classroom elements for educators to consider when trying to create and foster a self-directed learning environment for their students:
- Encourage students to plan carefully and make choices that speak to them
- Encourage students to self-monitor and evaluate their own work
- Provide students with incentives (e.g. highlighting their work to rest of class)
- Promote endurance and self-reliance (e.g. “keep working on this”)
- Encourage students to use elements in the environment such as peers and materials
- Demand appropriate behavior and respect for peers (e.g. Giving an answer shows you’re listening and explain your answer shows you’re thinking)
Are you an educator who is interested in creating an SDL classroom? What would you add to this list?