In my opinion IL is an umbrella title, one so multi-faceted that we probably need to invest a lot of time determining the rationale behind it.
One point that came across was from Miles Berry that Independent Learning is something innate, present from birth as a survival mechanism so teaching it is contradictory. This is something that I agree with and yet we are in a system that has institutionalised our lives to the point where children are taught out of this. They become so reliant on being told what, when and how to do things, that they forget what they are genetically programmed to do.
And there's my mistake. I'm talking about these children in the third person. The point is that we have all fallen into the habit of providing knowledge as teachers. There is no blame associated with this, we are as caught up in the status quo as they are. We know, however, that we need to change and this evening was so refreshing to be able to see so many educators out there are changing or challenging the regime.
Independent Learning Opportunities in my class.
In April of this year, I created a Project Day. I looked at the work that Oliver Quinlan had been doing, to great success, at Robin Hood Primary School with his Year 4 class. I liked the independence they showed and the desire to see things through.
I spoke to my class, explaining that they could do whatever they wanted to do as a project, providing that they could produce an end product - and by that I mean that they could reach their goal in a day.
I provided a Project booklet, as a guideline, (which once I find on disc I will upload) and explained that the children had to book adult help. My teaching assistant & I blocked out 20 minute sessions and left the blank paper on the wall.
My Project Book by Jim Maloney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
If they didn't plan for help, they wouldn't get it.
The result was that the children went away, thought about what they wanted to learn, planned a learning journey, resourced the project themselves, showed time management skills, identified areas where they needed support, problem solved, adapted, communicated but most importantly, learned. Not just about the project, but about themselves as learners. They identified skills they didn't think they had and fell short of things they took for granted.
Here are some photos of the kids in action and a link to their comments on last year's class blog.
One child chose to compose and perform his own song.
|Cakes created in an Easter basket. They were good.|
snake skin modelling
Art Attack style fish tank.
A model of the Windmill in Staining. Detailed down to the door colour
Working on each other's project, to help everyone to finish
A wooden model of the Empire State Building. Eventually!
Book about his pets
Stop Motion animation