What are the behaviours of a self-directed learner?
There are some who want the teachers to tell them everything and there are others who are self- directed and use school and teachers as facilitation to higher learning. What behaviours would a confident, self- directed learner show?
There is a term used in some educational circles - 'expert learner' - which basically points to a learner who is well organised, concientious, repeats good habits, ( study motivational strategies and the like),reviews work regularly and is willing to help others learn. Above all they are goal driven and are keen to set deadlines and targets and work with teachers/educators to achieve these.
I think, first and foremost, curiosity is the trait of the self-directed learner. I think it is innate in some and developed by others. Some never truly become interested in anything outside of their narrow scope of interest. Back in the day of my primary education, rote memorization was part of our regular learning experience. This practice left me with a bad taste in my mouth towards learning. I had no concept and could have cared less about the content of the paragraphs I was required to learn, but I could recite them blindly. When I took the time to try to understand the catechism phrases, it felt like a form of brainwashing and was a part of what forever colored my perceptions of organized religion.
I feel that true love of learning is a process that begins with curiosity. Behind that, determination, the ability to pursue the interest until satisfied or reach to ask questions that result in research and expansion beyond what is known. Determination has been the catalyst for every cure for a disease and vaccination that has changed our world. Without the innovative thinkers, the curious and determined, nothing would change. Without curiosity, there would be no answers because there would be no questions.
Courage to buck the system with questions that open new avenues for thought, research and discoveries is necessary. Having questions that remain silent due to fear of shaking up status quo leads to nowhere. The ability to share questions and ideas builds new solutions for solving problems.
Yes Amy- I too come from a rote learning culture at school that disillusioned me. I learnt widely and voraciously out of curiosity - a trait that thankfully has not gone away. Love of learning, determination as well as willingness to challenge, yes!
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