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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Promoting Independent Learning in Children – Tips and Suggestions

By Andrew Loh

Independent Learning focuses specially on creation and formation of the various opportunities and experiences so necessary for your children to become intelligent, self-sufficient, self-confident, capable, self-reliant, self-motivated and life-long learners of several real-time and life-like scenarios. What are desired and expected here, are, your children, valuing learning as empowering and progressive activity of immense personal and social worth.

In this important process, independent and focused learners develop the attitude, required knowledge and important skills required to make right and critical decisions and take necessary actions to deal with their own, self-initiated learning. You can foster independent learning by creating the opportunities and experiences, which initiate your children, develop motivation, initiation curiosity, self-reliance and positive attitude.

You can use a number of techniques and methods to develop independent learning in your children. However, most of these techniques belong to two main spheres of activities such as:

  1. Nurturing meaningful learning activities and

  2. Enabling your children to take responsibility for their own learning

Nurturing meaningful learning activities are important aspects that can help children develop independent learning and thinking. Meaningful learning activities combine a number of different activities ranging from reading, writing, reciting, debating and participating in a number of group related activities. Here are some of them:

Extend reading activities beyond the classroom textbooks: Most of our children are adept and experienced in reading and understanding their class textbooks. However, children who read beyond their classroom textbooks tend to be more informative and descriptive in their nature. Available research suggests us those children who read schematic and picture storybooks are more imaginative and knowledgeable than those children who do not develop the habit of reading such books.

Suggestion: Take your children to a local library and ask them to search for books of their choice. Let them select their books of choice. However, ask them what they are reading for the evening. Once they finish reading those books, ask them to recite the theme and story of the book. The most possible outcome of this exercise is development of language, reading skills and nurturing of imagination.

Develop their predictive and analytical skills by telling their own stories: Available research study reports suggest us those children who make up their own stories or anecdotes are extremely sharp in their both analytical power as well as spoken language. These skills also help your children apply them to their life in their adulthood. Spoken language could be an important independent skill that can help anyone to live anywhere in the world.

Suggestion: Assign an evening in a week for your children to recite their own stories and anecdotes. Let them tell their own stories and in their own language. Do not interrupt them! You will be surprised with the remarkable improvement in their language and diction! In the initial stages, your children may look very poor in their language, but extended independent learning will help them to acquire much needed skills of language and communication.

Hold a small group discussion among your children: Group discussions will help your children to be expressive and descriptive in their personality. Group discussions will help bring the best of your child's mind and it can be like a tonic to their developing brains.

Suggestion: Give a topic or two for your children to initiate discussions. Let the topic be very simple and easy. For example, suggest topics like “how a plant looks in summer” or “how your family dog behaves”.

Other learning activities that you can introduce are:

  • Encourage drawing and painting.

  • Assign separate time for your children to be alone on their own for their preferred activities.

  • Ask them to create a work dairy and enter their ideas in it.

  • Ask them do their own personal and sundry errands like arranging their rooms and study desks.

  • Ask them to do homework on their own and with least interference from your side.

  • Ask probing questions about different topics and issues.

Once you introduce various learning activities, your next goal should focus at enabling your children to take responsibility for their own learning and actions. All of us are humans and we make mistakes. Your children are no different from you. They will make many mistakes and commit a number of blunders. To buttress the process of learning, you may need to encourage your child to analyze the progress achieved, as well as the results acquired because of all learning activities. This could be a tedious task for your young and immature children. However, you can help them to note down mistakes and errors committed during the learning process. This activity will help them learn the basic skills of evaluation and analysis.

This is a difficult task and you should not expect too much from your child at this delicate stage. Nevertheless, you can provide a stable launch pad for your children to learn the most basic aspects of independent learning as well as thinking.

Featured Resource

Promoting Independent Learning in the Primary Classroom
By Jill Williams

From birth, human beings are striving to make sense of the world. They learn through interaction, modeling first hand experience and independent action. Most children arrive at school with the notion that being independent and having the desire to take responsibility has been seen, in their homes, as a good thing. What often happens is that responsibility may be denied them in school and that any further bid for independence is viewed as negative behavior.

Independence in the classroom should be seen as beneficial for learners and also for teachers. The argument presented by the author is that a climate in which decision-making is valued, where children are enabled to solve problems and where children and adults respect each others point of view will be a climate in which independence flourishes

Featured Resource


Child Development

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