Educator Reflection Tips

Educator Reflection Tips (Snapshot #88): What strategies are you teaching students to help them learn to be independent and more self-directed?

As students move through school and onto college, they must become increasingly self-directed and independent learners. Being able to set up and follow through on their own learning goals is an essential skill that will help them be successful in all areas of their lives. Here are some tips to help your students become self-directed and independent learners. 

Set Realistic Goals

Before beginning any type of project or learning goal, it’s important to set realistic goals. This includes determining a timeline for completion, the materials needed, and the resources available. Setting realistic goals will help students stay focused and motivated throughout the process. 

Break Projects Into Smaller Tasks

Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the entire project, promote breaking it down into smaller, manageable tasks will make it easier to focus on and complete. For example, if a student is working on a paper, they can break it down into sections like research, outlining, writing, and editing. 

Develop a plan and timeline

Once the project or goal is broken down into smaller tasks, it’s important to create a plan and timeline for completion. This will help the student stay on track and make sure that their project is completed on time. 

Our goal as educators is to cultivate independent learners. What criteria are you using to move students from dependent to self-directed scholars?

Ask questions and seek help

Asking questions and seeking help when needed is an important part of the learning process. Encourage your students to take initiative and seek out help from teachers, tutors, and mentors. 

Be Proactive

Self-directed learners must take initiative and be proactive in their learning. This includes researching topics, asking questions, and seeking out new opportunities to learn and grow. 

Use Breaks and Rewards

Take breaks and reward yourself. Learning can be overwhelming and sometimes it’s important to take a break and reward yourself for the progress you’ve made. Taking regular breaks will help keep students motivated and keep them from burning out. 

Support and Guidance Fuels Student Success

By following these tips, your students can become self-directed and independent learnerst. Encourage them to set realistic goals, break the project into smaller tasks, create a plan and timeline, ask questions and seek help, take initiative and be proactive, and take breaks and reward themselves. With the right support and guidance, your students can be successful in their learning journey.

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Suggested next steps… Continue reflecting with me by reading Ed Reflect Tip # 20 in Volume II of Educator Reflection Tips. It can be found at

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