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The Self-Directed Learning Handbook. Challenging Adolescent Students to Excel

  • ID: 2212362
  • Book
  • 208 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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The Self–Directed Learning Handbook offers teachers and principals an innovative program for customizing schooling to the learning needs of individual students— and for motivating them to take increasing responsibility for deciding what and how they should learn. Whether the students are struggling or proficient, the program is designed to nurture their natural passion for learning and mastery, challenging them to go beyond the easy and familiar so they can truly excel. The program can be introduced in stages in any middle or high school classroom and enables students of diverse abilities to design and pursue independent course work, special projects, or even artistic presentations, community field work or apprenticeships. Using this approach, the students take on an increasingly autonomous, self–directed role as they progress. The heart of the program is the action contract (or learning agreement) whereby the student sets challenging yet attainable goals, commits to a path for achieving them, and evaluates the results. Special emphasis is placed on developing skills and competencies that can serve the student well in his or her academic and career endeavors.

The Self–Directed Learning Handbook presents a comprehensive, practical framework for introducing self–directed learning approaches in the classroom, showing educators how to:
  • Translate conventional curricula into discrete outcomes allowing students to devise individualized approaches to their course work
  • Design engaging and powerful classroom lessons
  • Negotiate and structure effective student learning agreements
  • Modify teaching approaches and other classroom practices to encourage self–motivated learning and skill development
  • Encourage student self–assessment of course work and other accomplishments
The book provides sample course units, lessons, contracts, and assessment instruments and features examples from public schools that have successfully implemented self–directed learning programs.
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1. The Case for Self–Directed Learning.

What Is Self–Directed Learning?

How Does Research Support SDL?

The Major Principles of an SDL Program.

The Essential Elements of SDL.

Approaching SDL in Stages.

2. A Framework for Teaching SDL.

Defining the Course.

Expanding Learning Options and Environments.

Building Independent Thinking Skills.

Negotiating Student Learning Agreements.

Establishing Assessment Processes.

3. Rethinking Student Coursework.

Essential Planning Steps.

Understanding the Stages of SDL.

Linking the Stages to Grade Levels.

Designating Course Outcomes.

Developing Self–Managed Course Units.

Student–Planned Coursework and Projects.

Focusing on Competencies and Challenges.

4. Planning Lessons and Projects.

Principles for Planning Lessons.

Designing Learning Episodes.

Creating Experiences.

Promoting Study.

Encouraging Productivity.

Involving Students in Project Planning.

5. Teaching Independent Thinking.

Inviting Inquiry and Initiative.

Developing Problem–Solving Skills.

Using Process Frameworks: Investigation and Action.

Cultivating Process Thinking and Attitudes.

6. Negotiating Student Learning Agreements.

The Learning Agreement or Contract.

The Elements of a Contract.

Negotiating Contract Agreements.

Sample Contracts.

Tracking Student Progress.

7. Motivating and Empowering Students.

Encouraging Students to Pursue SDL.

Motivating Students to Motivate Themselves.

The Working Journal as a Motivational Tool.

Dealing with the SDL Crisis.

Working with Difficult Students.

8. Assessing Student Achievement.

Promoting Student Self–Assessment.

Assessing General Skills.

Assessing Coursework.

Evaluating Projects and Assignments.

Portfolios for Personal Learning.

Passage and Graduation Criteria.

Demonstrations, Celebrations, and Conferences.

9. Pursuing a Path of Excellence.

The Teacher Is the Key Person.

Making a Difference to the Student.

Starting an SDL School.

Administrative Support for SDL.

Creating a Shared Vision.

Resource A: How Much SDL Are You Teaching Now?

Resource B: How Self–Directing Are You?

A Self–Assessment Instrument.

Resource C: The Passage Process.

Resource D: The Integrated SDL Unit: The Kinds of Activities Involved.

Resource E: Inner States for SDL.

Resource F: Sample Process Templates.

Resource G: Guidelines, Traps, and Boosters.

Resource H: The Support Group or Triad.

Resource I: Samples from a Student′s Working Journal.

Resource J: Some of the Many Ways Students Can Learn.



The Author.
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Maurice Gibbons
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