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How You Can Help Students Become Independent Learners

We all know a good education requires a great deal of teaching. However, the most important thing is not a teacher that teaches, but a learner who learns.

We all know a good education requires a great deal of teaching. However, the most important thing is not a teacher that teaches, but a learner who learns. In fact, we could argue that the more the teacher teaches, the less the student learns, or at least, the less capable the student will be of learning.

Contrary to popular belief the primary job of a teacher is not to teach but rather to facilitate learning. When students are taught, they become comfortable with just being taught. On the other hand, any student who knows how to learn will be able to continue learning all his life, even if nobody is around to teach him.

Perhaps you have asked yourself the question, “How do I help my students to become independent learners?” When you use the individualised, self-instructional A.C.E. programme you automatically have a head start over the conventional lesson-based programmes, because the system allows a child to work independently. However, the temptation is always there to revert back to the default position: to spend too much time teaching our children.

To start with, the next time children don’t understand a concept in a PACE, don’t explain it to them right away. Instead, ask them to tell you what they think the answer is or what they believe the text or teaching strip is saying.

Often, they’ll find the problem themselves halfway through the explanation. But if they don’t, just ask them some probing questions: ask them to define the terms, or check their facts, or explain the proof or evidence behind what they’re saying. Have them re-explain anything they seem uncertain about. By encouraging students to solve a problem on their own without asking for help, we are helping them become lifelong learners.

In short, act like you are the student and they are the teacher. This can be a big adjustment for some of us, but the results will be worth it!

After awhile, your children will begin to develop the skills they need to become true self-teachers. More importantly, students who can teach themselves will be much more likely to become lifelong learners.  They’ll have more confidence to tackle unfamiliar problems and find the answers. By helping students become self-teaching, we are helping them acquire a powerful set of skills that will let them thrive in any work environment.

Having said all of the above, it will sometimes be necessary to explain certain concepts to your children if they simply can’t figure it out on their own. All of us need that type of support sometimes. However, asking the right questions and making our children explain things to us is an extremely powerful and underappreciated tool! So, next time your children want you to give them the answer, be wise and let them LEARN!

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ADMINISTRATORS' SEMINAR 2024 REGISTRATIONS OPEN

30 JULY 2024 - 2 August 2024

Join us at the Administrators’ Seminar, an annual event for principals, pastors and administrators to gather, connect and enjoy a time of renewal.