Independent study allows students with endless possibilities to creativity, learning, and development. When giving students independent study projects they have the freedom to articulate what they have learned in a variety of ways. Giving students this choice will help them push the boundaries of what they already know and challenge themselves to test their creativity and ability to articulate knowledge in diverse ways. Independent study also allows for limitless learning that students can have. I would argue that in independent study projects, students are far more knowledgeable on the topic than they are able to articulate. In these projects students must over learn so they are able to truly present the facts of the topic and share this with the rest of the class. In doing so motivates students to learn the topics in a deep way that promotes literacy because they have to teach what they have learned to the class.
Journals and Learning Logs
Journals and Learning logs promote ongoing assessment that allows teachers to formatively assess students throughout the year. By having logs and journals students are able to articulate what they have learned without the pressure of having the right answer. They are free to respond in a way that makes sense to them and will help them in their comprehension. Journals are a space where students have the freedom to “explore ideas and clarify their own thinking” (Instructional Strategies). By having these learning logs, also benefits students who may not be able to articulate their ideas and knowledge on a text and thus would have poor grades to reflect their knowledge. When teachers have this resource, they are better able to assess where students are at in their learning and then help catch them up or push them forward in areas that they are struggling or exceeding.
This instructional method has been one of the most beneficial in my learning career. As a verbal processor the opportunity to have a learning approach that benefits the ability to have a deeper understanding and engagement in the course. Creating an atmosphere in a classroom that allows for students to participate and feel safe to discuss ideas is a way that I want to have my class in the future. The discussion will help students with engagement, comprehension, and life skills. When students are in a classroom that is primarily lecture-based there is the option for them to zone out and retain nothing from the lecture. Also, knowing how learning styles work and that a majority of students do not learn well from lecture-based learning should motivate teachers to use other approaches such as discussion-based learning. When students are in a way forced to engage in the content by having group discussions they are also more likely to do readings and think critically about the content they are covering. When asking students to have discussions it is important to have the freedom to be somewhat self-lead as giving students the freedom will allow them to explore and go deeper into topics that interest them, thus engaging them even more.
The discussion also helps students increase comprehension. When teachers open the space to have students discuss topics freely, they are able to create an environment where students can voice their opinions. In doing so it is likely that students will have differing opinions and then must have the understanding to back up the claims that they are making. When teachers create this healthy environment that fosters open discussion students are able to effectively come up with problem-solving skills and critical thinking to be able to reason and have conversations with others. In this, it is important to have a classroom that has high levels of respect and openness toward new ideas even if they do not agree. Through discussions, students will have a deeper comprehension about a topic than those who would have just been lectured about a similar topic.
Discussions also encourage many life skills that are important for students to have beyond their school careers. One way that teachers can promote this discussion is through talking circles. By having talking circles students are not only able to critically think about topics they have to discuss but they are also able to practice empathy and active listening. It is very easy for students to zone out in class when they are not going to have to respond in any way, however, in talking circles there is an element of listening to another’s story that promotes empathetic listening.