How to Promote Independent Learning in the Primary Classroom
Allowing students to take ownership and initiative in their learning gives them the confidence needed to succeed as lifelong learners. Creating independent learners requires a structured classroom with clear expectations, routines and procedures. The teacher must create an atmosphere where children feel confident as learners, secure enough in their environment to take risks and comfortable enough with routines to work independently and help others. Children in the primary classroom can actually handle a lot of responsibility if they are explicitly taught what to do and when to do it.
What is independent learning and what are the benefits for students? – paper
Bill Meyer, Naomi Haywood, Darshan Sachdev and Sally Faraday (2008) London: Department for Children, Schools and Families Research Report 051.
How is independent learning viewed by teachers?
‘Independent Learning’ is often linked with other approaches to learning such as ‘personalisation’, ‘student-centred learning’ and ‘ownership’ of learning. Discussion of independent learning frequently arises in the context of important issues such as student-teacher roles and relationships, and the role of information and communications technology (ICT) in learning.
The aim of this literature review was to identify reliable, robust and relevant research to provide a detailed picture of independent learning and its possible impact on students. The review found a number of different terms to describe independent learning, the most common reflecting the idea of ‘self-regulated learning’. The review highlighted some evidence of benefits to students particularly in the form of improved motivation and better management of their learning. The authors of the review emphasised that independent learning does not merely involve students working alone and stressed the important role teachers can play in enabling and supporting independent learning.
Read in full here:
Promoting Independent Learning In The Primary Classroom
Wiliams, J. (2003) Buckingham: Open University Press.
From birth, human beings are striving to make sense of the world. They learn through interaction, modelling first hand experience and independent action. Most children arrive at school with the notion that being independent and having the desire to take responsibility has been seen, in their homes, as a good thing. However, what often happens is that responsibility may be denied them in school and further bids for independence are viewed as negative behaviour. This book argues that independence in the classroom should be seen as beneficial for learners and also for teachers. Jill Williams makes a compelling case for a climate in which decision making is valued, where children are enabled to solve problems and where children and adults respect each others point of view, arguing that this will be a climate in which independence flourishes. In turn the benefits in terms of teaching and learning will be apparent for both the children and the teachers.
Collaborative or cooperative learning can be defined as learning tasks or activities where students work together in a group small enough for everyone to participate on a collective task that has been clearly assigned. This can be either a joint task where group members do different aspects of the task but contribute to a common overall outcome, or a shared task where group members work together throughout the activity.
Peer tutoring includes a range of approaches in which learners work in pairs or small groups to provide each other with explicit teaching support. In cross-age tutoring, an older learner takes the tutoring role and is paired with a younger tutee or tutees.
‘Cooperative learning is the use of small groups through which students work together to accomplish shared goals and to maximise their own and others’ potential.’ Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (ASCD 1994)