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Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog

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On Independent Learning

I work in many different educational settings. Over the years I’ve noticed where the more independent learners are. Where do you think that is? Let me tell you. Our most independent learners today can be found in Reception classes and on undergraduate courses; i.e.: at either end of the formal educational pathway. 5-year olds choose where to learn and what to learn. They manage their coats, resources, sandwiches, fruit and playtimes. University students have to do the same. But for most it’s a hasty relearning because, sadly, in the intervening years since they too were hanging their coats on tiny pegs, independence, rather than being encouraged and nurtured, has been lost. The exam spoon has fed them, they’ve followed the rules of engagement, they’ve been dutifully processed by the curriculum machine, rather than lobbing a spanner at it to find out what happens.

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