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.
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Teachers TV: Independent Learners: Primary by Teachers TV – Teaching Resources – TES
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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.
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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.
For this research I chose to focus on the learning of my A level photography students in Years 12 and 13. I formulated my action research question as follows:
Stimulus: I’d like my A level photography students to be better able to generate their own
ideas and be more independent learners.
Hypotheisis: I suspect they haven’t yet made the leap from considering their work as belonging to school, in their role as students, rather than to themselves as artists.
Research: I’m interested in ideas like Mantle of the Expert, design thinking,
studio schools and ‘How to be an artist’ by Michael Atavar.
Consequently, my research question is:
If I encourage my Year 12 and 13 photography students to inhabit the role of
artist/photographer, with a practice of their own, will they become more
independent and resilient?
Jon Nicholls, Thomas Tallis School
Read the full report here: ‘I am an artist’