In a school curriculum, the process of learning needs to be given equal or more importance than the content of what is being taught. Children deserve to be taught to “learn how to learn”. With widespread availability of learning resources online, this becomes even more relevant to our times.
International Baccalaureate (IB) courses emphasise the independent learning process. The process is woven it into all IB programmes. Starting with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), students are slowly encouraged to develop autonomy in learning. They are encouraged to discover connections between themes and topics. The IB Diploma Programme (DP) puts a greater responsibility on the students, by the means of the Theory of Knowledge(TOK) course. TOK helps them understand the intricacies of learning itself.
The process of self-directed learning
Self-directed learning is a formidable undertaking. Taking charge of one’s learning begins with the need or readiness to learn. IB school students may pursue learning activities individually or in groups. The teacher acts as a guide while students achieve their learning objectives. Students formulate their learning goals, while figuring out the various resources required to achieve those goals. Students then set out to create a timeline, chart out tasks and set milestones for the completion of their learning objectives. One example for a learning objective might be, if we were to improve the literacy rate in a village, what actions can be taken?
While the student completely drives the learning process, learning happens collaboratively, with input from various sources and feedback from teachers. Students of an IB school are guided to take more factors into consideration such as cultural beliefs of others, language barriers, and policies. Ultimately, it is the student who decides if the outcome of the exercise is satisfactory.
Benefits of taking charge of one’s learning
The process of taking charge of one’s own learning is transformational. This format of learning forces students to delve deeper into concepts and challenge their existing approaches to learning. It is a crucial way to pick up skills during the course of one’s career. Communication skills, self-reflection, teamwork, discipline, responsibility and curiosity are some of the skills IB school students develop.
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