Little Log Cottage School

7 Characteristics of Student Led Learning

Student led learning works best if you see yourself more as a coach and less as a dictator.  While I generally determine what skills should be learned and practiced, my kids are the ones who drive the activities and lessons.  Of coarse, there will be those days when a particular skill isn’t liked as much as another, but for the most part, my kids are in control of their learning and are enjoying the process.

student led learning

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There are some basic characteristics of student led learning, and if you’re homeschooling these are going to come much easier to you than if you were in the classroom.  I assume you have the desire for your child to be creative, observant, gritty, joyful, happy, and content so I don’t have to sell you on the benefits of student led learning.  But actually implementing student led learning can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have a solid foundation on the topic.  These are the characteristics I don’t want you to miss as you prepare for the student led classroom.

7 Characteristics of Student Led Learning

  • Classrooms are designed around the learner’s needs.  Right now the hot topic is alternative seating.  Where does you child learn best?  On the floor?  Outside?  Sitting on a trampoline?  At a dining room table?
  • Classrooms are busy and loud.  Students are not just sitting working in workbooks, they are moving around the room, exploring outside, questioning and discussing the learning process.
  • Self-Awarness  In the student led classroom, students are able to express their need and are aware of the way they learn.  Do they require absolute quiet?  Do they require a lot of discussion or listening to music?
  • Teachers act more as a coach.  Students are encouraged to go with their passion.  What’s your child’s passion?  What are they interested in learning about?  Use this as a springboard for your lessons and activities.
  • Failure is a powerful teaching tool.  A great way to practice this is through STEM activities. Mistakes become opportunities to grow.  This is a way to identify problems and then find solutions.  It’s important to reward effort, and celebrate successful outcomes.  Be sure to model your own failures.  Students set their own goals and create checklists and graphs to measure their progress.
  • Gifts and talents are nurtured.  
  • Deeper learning is happening.  As opposed to just memorizing facts, lots of discussions and inquiries are taking place.  Learning is relevant with technology being included in the learning process.

I know this may sound like a lot to take in, but once you begin backing away from a curriculum student led learning will come more natural to you.  You probably already know your child’s learning style and interest, so taking the leap to a more student led classroom won’t be so challenging.

Once your child is in more control of their learning, they’ll be able to learn almost anything!


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