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Covid-19 lockdown: Heres why learning at home should be more self-directed and less structured

Learning on one’s own can be challenging even for the sharpest and motivated students. With Covid-19 threat students are home and their day is filled with learning schedules. The struggle is to implement those schedules.

Learning in a classroom setting is what most of us are used too, where the teacher provides the lessons and students are told what to study. The student is given directions to complete a task and earns a grade at the end of the course. In this structure, the teacher directs the process.

With self- directed learning students take control and they decide how to learn and at what pace they would want to go about it. This also makes them accountable for their learning process.

The sudden shift to work from home is providing a good disruption and opening a golden opportunity for students to engage in authentic and more self- directed learning, which is more playful, aligned to young student development and easier on the parents to manage.

Though self-directed learning is not the latest trend seen in education. It has been around since Aristotle and Socrates and is the natural channel to deep understanding and success.

Self-directing learning can appear in the classroom and supporting it as an integral part of ‘how’ we learn can create a significantly enriching learning experience for students.

What is self-directed learning?

It is described as a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs. The ability to think critically is the most valuable resource for engaging in self-directed learning. It promotes the natural development of self -confidence and perseverance.

There are many methods teachers and parents can use to increase responsibility in learners and support them in the learning paths.

Having students choose their learning helps them build creativity, time management skills, prioritising and independence. They can explore real-world problems, build models, and research. This can be difficult in a traditional classroom where there are 20-30 students. Parents at home can provide more flexibility where the student can choose topics to study, books they want to read and other productive ways to use their time gainfully.

While most curricular requirements are focussed on testing and standards, parents can focus on having the child explore and build on critical thinking skills and the desire to learn.

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Some techniques and benefits that will encourage learning:

1. Intrinsic Motivation: When you are intrinsically motivated the process of learning becomes more passionate as you are not relying on external factors to learn. Intrinsic motivation is enjoying the process of learning for the sake of learning. The student learns something because they want to learn.

2. Exploring Science: Nature is a path to scientific exploration. Promoting free play, like spending time outdoors or in parks. Talk about what they can see like water cycles, food chains, etc. Toys like blocks, cardboard boxes, loose parts etc can initiate free play.

3. Social Studies: Have the kids read books on history or culture. There are many libraries which have made digital catalogues during Covid-19 crisis. Once the kids are done reading have them outline with a picture book or poster.

4. Math: Keep it simple, by having them practice the subject with real objects like coins. Cooking is a great way to teach real math and board games.

5. Play and Movement: A good morning workout with yoga, dance etc can get those happy brain chemicals flowing. Children can also workout with their friends through video conferencing and do a group workout.

With everyone at home, more household chores like cleaning and cooking are being done. Helping with chores helps develop problem-solving skills and motor skills. Genuine learning takes place in the real world.

When children are playing or helping at home they are learning. Let interest and entertainment be their guides.

Article by Vrinda Prabhat (Content Curator and Quality Assurance at zamit)

Courtesy: India Today

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