Training, consultancy and resources to improve teaching and learning
You are here > Members' Resources > Online Learning Magazine > Issue 57: Independent Learning
Books Membership

To read the learning magazine, download resources and to access site resources you'll need to join and login:

  • Standard Member: Free
    Monthly updates, magazine & limited resources
  • Teacher Premium Member: £24 per annum
    Monthly updates, magazine & all teacher resources
Find out more about each level >>
Books Training Events

Training Available From Mike:

Headteacher Executive Coaching; 

NQT/RQT Training Programmes for Local Authorities;

Cluster/Federation/Academy Chain Training Days

Books Teacher Premium Offer

Book Cover Thinking StoriesJun 2017
This month's Teacher Premium Offers:

Thinking Stories to Wake Up your Mind £20.99
with free standard delivery in the UK


Shop Free Shop Delivery

Teacher Premium Members receive

  • Free UK Standard Delivery in the Thinking Classroom Book Shop
Magazine Issue 57: Independent Learning
March 2015

This month: Thoughts about Independent Learning

Article: Indepedent Learning
New Resources
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Independent Learning

img
Independent Learning An Article exploring the differences between adult and child learning and how to make pupils more independent.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Independent Learning Pedagogy Andragogy
Andragogy vs Pedagogy
In the mid 1960s, educator Malcolm Knowles developed a theory and practice of Andragogy: adult, life-long learning. His ideas rested on six assumptions:


  1. Need to know: Adults need a reason to learn something
  2. Foundation: Experience provides the basis for learning
  3. Self-concept: Adults are responsible for their learning
  4. Readiness: Adults focus learning on their professional/personal needs
  5. Orientation: Adult learning is challenge-centered rather than subject-orientated
  6. Motivation: Adults have greater intrinsic motivation
Pedagogy describes the theory and practice of teaching and is often assumed to apply in the teacher-pupil/child-adult context.

 

  1. Need to know: Children are given reasons to learn something by teachers
  2. Foundation: Teacher-experience provides the basis for learning
  3. Self-concept: Teachers are responsible for children's learning
  4. Readiness: Teachers focus learning on grades and subject outcomes
  5. Orientation: Child learning is subject-orientated rather than challenge-centered
  6. Motivation: Children have greater extrinsic motivation
These are only assumptions but when you reflect on your own learning and that of your pupils you may well recognise the differences.

Dependence vs Independence

Critics of Knowles (including a forward-thinking Knowles himself) developed the theory of Andragogy into a continuum. Each of the six assumptions became a progression from teacher-centered (dependent) learning to pupil-centered (independent) learning. Any learner, whatever their age or stage, can be described (or describe themselves) in terms of levels of (in)dependence. For example Self-concept develops as learners gradually take more responsibility for their learning, its planning and evaluation. This, of course, depends on having the opportunities to do so.


Letting Go of Learning
If you want to see what truly independent learning looks like, watch this TED Clip from 7m30s in. You'll see how curiosity drives independent learning without a teacher in sight.

We must never loose faith in children's inherent ability to learn. Yes, we do have a responsibility to share our experience and knowledge, but we have an equal responsibility to create opportunities for children to find out for themselves.

So how do we make genuine opportunities for children to move from dependence to independence? Here's what might get in the way:

 

  • Lack of available lesson time
  • External curriculum expectations
  • External test/examination expectations
  • Lack of trust/belief that children will learn independently
  • Fear of letting go/loosing control
  • Not knowing when or how to 'let go'
We don't need to remove all of these obstacles before we begin but a good way to start comes to us from Banchi and Bell (2008). They developed a 4-level scale to assess pupil dependence on the teacher:

Level Teacher Decides What Teacher Decides How Endpoint Already Known
 0-Confirmation  Yes  Yes  Yes
 1-Structured  Yes  Yes  No
 2-Guided  Yes  No  No
 3-Open  No  No  No


If you want to develop independence in pupils, start by not changing anything! Simply assess what levels of dependence you offer already. Then use that information to decide what to do next. It's best not to jump from 0 to 3. Go step by step; a gradual release is better.

It's my opinion that if you offer level 0 all the time, you are letting your pupils down. I also believe that if you offer level 3 all the time you are letting your pupils down just as much. Why? because your pupils' adult lives will be full of challenges at all levels and they need to know how to operate effectively in each: sometimes we just have to do as we are told (level 0); but at others we're in new and unfamiliar territory, on our own, and have to grit up, crack on and creatively deal with the problem.


New Resources:

Quadrant Thinking

img
Quadrant Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to group, categorise, sort and think more deeply about elements of subjects.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Analytical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Analysis Sorting
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Quadrant Thinking Powerpoint

img
Quadrant Thinking Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Template in Powerpoint. Slides to help you set up and use Quadrant Thinking in class.

Categories: Analytical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, All Ages, Thinking Tool

Tags: Analysis Sorting
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Literacy Think Sheet - More Sentences

img
Literacy Think Sheet - More Sentences A Think Sheet to support the development of complex, richer and more interesting sentences.

Categories: Think Sheet, Thinking Skills, Junior, Secondary, Any Subject

Tags: Literacy Analysis
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

A previous article on Independent Learning

Independent Learning

img
Independent Learning An Article exploring independence and independent thinking & learning. Includes a possible connection between independence and happiness; pupil criteria for independent learning and a challenge to schools in how they develop independence. 

The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. Denis Waitley

Independence is happiness. Susan B. Anthony

What is independent learning?

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more
Categories: Article, Skills-Based Learning, Educators, Any Subject

Tags: Independence Happiness

iThinking

img
iThinking A Thinking Skills Tool that provides a simple progression of decision-making; suggested prompt questions and opportunities for all pupils to become more independent in thought and learning.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Questioning, Skills-Based Learning, Art, DT, History, Secondary

Tags: Independent Learning Independent Thinking Decision Making
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Tips for Independent Learning

img
Tips for Independent Learning Teaching Tips for helping pupils to develop their independence through making choices. Helps students learn how to motivate themselves when time becomes unstructured. Activities include: One Island, Speed Choice and Free Time Audit.

Categories: Teaching Tips, Skills-Based Learning, Educators, Any Subject

Tags: Independent Learning Independent Thinking Decision Making
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

PSHE Think Sheet - Independence

img
PSHE Think Sheet - Independence Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas adapted specifically for PSHE with a slight Geography focus! 

Categories: Think Sheet, Geography, PSHE, Junior, Secondary, Thinking Skills

Tags: Independent Learning Independent Thinking Decision Making
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Websites:

Independent Learning: a literature review and a new project

Independent Learning: a literature review and a new project

A detailed and helpful literature review of independent learning – if you want a very solid research base.


www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/193305.pdf

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Websites, Teaching & Learning

Tags: Research Independent Learning


Next month we think about... any suggestions?