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Promoting independence in learning

The benefits of promoting independence in learning can include:

  • Improved academic performance together with increased recognition of strengths, weaknesses and progress
  • Increased motivation and confidence including taking more responsibility for own learning
  • Increased chances to be creative and creative
  • Improved social inclusion and reduced alienation from peers
  • Increased opportunities for completing differentiated tasks, set by the teacher
  • More likely to adopt proactive approaches and problem-solve when faced with challenges, accelerating pace of progress.

Independent learners have abilities that will stand them in good stead both during and beyond their education such as their ability to:

  • Acquire and use information
  • Communicate effectively using different media
  • Organise themselves
  • Problem solve
  • Relate to others

The teacher as a facilitator, a mentor, a coach and a guide:

In an independent learning environment the role of the teacher is to facilitate a wide range of learning opportunities.  They can do this by:

  • Providing the child or young person with resource materials
  • Whetting the child or young person’s appetite to learn
  • Providing the child or young person with opportunities to test out their learning
  • Encouraging group work so that the children or young people can learn from each other
  • Giving the child or young person feedback on their progress and encouraging self and peer editing before work is handed in
  • Helping the child or young person to make sense of what they have learned
  • Giving the child or young person choices so they can reflect on their own interests and preferences
  • Collaborating with the child or young person to set shared learning goals
  • Involve the child or young person in lesson planning

Useful websites:

How to develop independent learners: Practical ideas and strategies for creating a more independent learning environment TES

Last updated 28 January 2021

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