10 Ways to Promote Self-Directed Classroom


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Effective elementary teachers promote a self-directed classroom so that their students know if they cannot solve a problem or figure out an answer then they will have the tools to do it themselves. Here are 10 tips to help you promote a classroom where your students are self-reliant, as well as self-confident and feel that they can do anything on their own.

Promote an “I Can” Attitude

Teaching your students how to overcome disappointment is one of the best lessons that you can ever teach them in their life. When students face disappointment, teach them to analyze it and look at the big picture. Teach them to talk about how it feels so that they can move past it. Instilling an “I can” attitude will help them know and understand that they can do anything.

Allow Student to Fail

Failing is usually never an option in school. However, in today’s society, it just may be the answer to getting our children to be independent. When a student is practicing balancing on a beam or they are in a yoga position and they fall down, don’t they usually get back up and try one more time, or until they get it? When a child is playing a video game and their character dies, don’t they keep playing until they get to the end? Failure can be the pathway to something much bigger. As teachers, we can give students room to fail, and allow them to learn to pick themselves up and give it another try. Give your students a chance to make a mistake, allow them to struggle and let them know that it is okay to fail just as long as they get back up and try again.

Study Leaders and Role Models

Take time out of your busy curriculum to study leaders and role models who persevered. Study people like Bethany Hamilton who got her arm bitten off in a shark attack, but continued to compete in surfing competitions. Find a real-world example of perseverance that will help your students understand that people fail and go through hard times, but if they pick themselves up and try again, they can do anything.

Get Students to Believe in Themselves

Give students positive affirmations that they can do anything they put their mind to. Let’s say that one of your students is failing one of their subjects. Instead of telling them that there’s a chance that they will fail, build them up and tell them that you know that they can do it. If the student sees that you believe in their abilities, then they will soon believe in themselves too.

Teach Students to Pull Themselves Out of a Negative Mindset

If you want a classroom where your students are self-directed learners then you must get rid of the negative thoughts and beliefs that are in their head. Teach students to see that their negative thoughts are only holding them back from where they need to be or want to go. So then, the next time your students find themselves in a negative mindset, they will be able to pull themselves out of it all by themselves and be mindful of their actions and thoughts.

Give Current and Frequent Feedback

Try giving students feedback as soon as possible, this way your words will resonate with them, and they will be more willing to make changes if needed. By giving immediate feedback then your students will have the opportunity to implement your suggestions right away and make the changes they need in order to be a self-directed learner.

Bolster Students Confidence

Bolster your students’ confidence by discussing their strengths and their abilities with them. Find something about each and every student that you can celebrate, this will help boost their confidence. Confidence building is a known way to increase students’ self-assurance and make them feel more independent. Isn’t that what a self-directed learner is?

Teach Students How to Manage their Goals

In order to promote a self-directed classroom where students are self-reliant then you must teach them how to manage their own goals. You can begin by helping students set small, achievable goals that can be achieved fairly quickly. This will help them understand the process of setting and achieving a goal. Once students grasp this concept, then you can have them set more long term goals.

Learn Something New Together

To help cultivate a classroom where students learn independence then try learning something new together as a class. Students will learn by observing the way you learn. They will watch you learn through your techniques, which will help them get ideas on how they can do it on their own.

Give Your Students a Voice

Your classroom should set the stage for students to feel comfortable enough to have a voice. Make your classroom environment a place where students are free to speak their minds. This will not only make them feel more empowered, but also help them feel like they are part of a classroom community, which will help bolster their self-confidence, and in turn, help them become more independent learners.

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Your Citation
Cox, Janelle. "10 Ways to Promote Self-Directed Classroom." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/promoting-a-self-directed-classroom-4044987. Cox, Janelle. (2023, April 5). 10 Ways to Promote Self-Directed Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/promoting-a-self-directed-classroom-4044987 Cox, Janelle. "10 Ways to Promote Self-Directed Classroom." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/promoting-a-self-directed-classroom-4044987 (accessed May 30, 2023).