Assignments stimulate independent thinking

Assignments stimulate independent thinking

9 tips for encouraging students to become independent learners

1. Provide students with opportunities to self-monitor
Self-monitoring depends on the two processes of establishing goals and receiving feedback from others and from oneself. You can encourage your students to self-monitor by helping them develop their use of self and peer assessment to see whether the strategies they were using were effective for achieving learning goals.

2. Use questioning as scaffolding to independent learning
The aim here is a gradual, step-by-step transfer of responsibility from the teacher to the student. The teacher must develop effective classroom discourse, asking higher order, open-ended questions, responding flexibly to students’ responses to promote thinking, problem-solving skills and deeper understanding.

3. Offer models of behaviour
Encourage your students to model your behaviour. For example, by showing them how categorizing information can make it easier to remember.

4. Develop communication that includes language focused on learning
This helps students to become more aware of the steps involved in learning, to understand their own individual learning style and helps them share their thinking.

5. Provide written and/or oral feedback on classwork and homework
This can be a good way to improve students’ confidence in working independently. Limit use of attainment grades and scores and consider giving grades for level of effort.

6. Encourage collaboration
Give your students regular opportunities to complete quality, small group tasks and encourage them to learn from each other and develop their own ideas, rather than always looking to you for answers.

7. Give pupils choices and encourage your students to set their own learning goals
So that they can reflect on their own interests and preferences and take ownership of their learning, this will make your students feel empowered and in control of their own learning.

8. Involve pupils again in lesson planning
Asking your students for their input will help them feel that they have a responsibility for and involvement in their own learning. Video reflections can help you recognize the level of student involvement in a lesson and allow you to plan your practice better.

9. Encourage your pupils to be reflective
Suggesting your students keep a ‘learning diary’ can enable them to keep track of their learning and monitor their progress. Hopefully their confidence will increase as they look back and become aware of how far they’ve come throughout the school year.

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