Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Is your kid right for self directed learning?

Set aside the for the moment that there is little or no self directed learning schools in the world and let's talk about if your kid, or a kid you know is right for self directed learning. If you are a highschool student then read on because if any of these traits apply to you then consider moving to a SDL school. 

There are a few traits that I used to see in kids that were awesome students but performed poorly in school. 

First if your kid like to learn on their own, then highly consider self directed learning. If your kid does this that means they like to learn and can probably handle learning things by themselves.

Second, if your kid test poorly on multiple choice tests. This can mean one of two things. The first is that the kid could be bored with school and doesn't like multiple choice tests or your kid is a creative kid and is bogged down by the nature of multiple choice tests. Multiple choice tests punish creative kids. Aside from the bigger issue of multiple choice tests which is that these test give the impression that there is one right answer and that answer is the right one for all of time. Again with creative kids they tend to think much differently. 

Third, your kid likes drawing, playing music, making software, programming or artistic stuff. If your kid likes these the perhaps self directed learning is better. In order to make good art or anything creative you have to think differently and test differently than what the school system offers. Creativity does not work 9-5. 

Fourth, you kid does well on projects but tests poorly. If your kid loves working on the projects then this is a sign they might do well in SDL. In addition if your kid gets good marks on projects but horrible marks on multiple choice tests then this item is much more relevant. SDL is a more project based environment meaning that your kid will get better marks. On a side note our society is becoming a more project based society so if this is your kid then it might be better that they don't like school.

Fifth, your kid is competitive or a boy. This is a whole other topic to discuss but in the last 15 years school has been tailored towards girls versus boys. Boys tend to like competition more than girls and a lot of schools have taken that out of the equation. Also, in most schools grade 1-6 the majority of teachers are female. Also boys tend to get lower marks than girls. There is a number of reasons for that but if your kid is competitive boy or girl then SDL might be a great option. When kids go to and SDL school they compete to get the best mark and do the course the fastest without any teacher interaction. 

Lastly, your kid is not engaged in school. This one is a little more dubious but if your kid is not engaged in school then perhaps another alternative must be presented. This is something that you try with the kid in a limited capacity. This means that you might try a little bit of self directed learning with the kid and see how they respond. If they are more engaged then consider making it a full time thing

If your kid has one or more of these traits then consider SDL. If you are a high school student reading this, in most places in the world you can challenge as many courses as you want. This means that you just teach yourself. Most schoolboards will give you all the material you need to pass the test. I suggest trying this once with a less important course. If you manage to teach yourself you have instantly put yourself above and beyond the competition. 

Here are some other benefits of SDL with kids
1. There isn't enough material in the curriculum to warrant kids sitting in a classroom for the time that they do
2. SDL is way more engaging / rewarding than tradition schools
3. SDL is more efficient meaning that the kid can learn the same amount of material and have extra time to do other things like sports, music, or just be a kid.

SDL is not
1. An hippy-school alternative 
2. Is is a real thing
3. It is effective for some people
4. It is not for everybody