Self-directed Learning The Remote Learning Gold

18th September 2021

There is no questioning the difficultly of remote learning for many students, but one thing that is easily overlooked is the capacity of young people to take responsibility for their own learning. In surveys conducted within our Senior School, our students reported “increased self-directed learning” as their best achievement during remote learning.

We know that students who are self-directed in their learning become motivated, persistent and use initiative. These are the qualities not only of successful students but successful people.

As educators, our natural inclination is sometimes to provide students, especially weaker students, with more direct instruction, increased support, and even hand-holding when what they need is improved learning autonomy.

More than 60 per cent of our Senior School students have indicated that they value the increase in self-directed learning that they have gained during remote learning periods. How we nurture this learning autonomy is at the forefront of every teacher’s mind. It is a small win from learning at home that we intend to maintain.

Our approach during remote learning has encouraged students to be consciously grateful for the small joys in their lives. We kicked off this thinking last year with the Girton Gratitude Project, through which students reported being more grateful (in order) since the pandemic began for their friends, teachers and school staff, and the family members with whom they live. This was particularly pleasing for our hard-working teachers and support staff.

We are very proud of our remote learning programme. Senior School students follow their daily timetable and have live online contact with the relevant subject teacher every lesson. In Junior School, the classroom teacher has extensive contact with students for Literacy and Numeracy in the mornings. After lunch, students are provided with classes from specialists, including Science, Music, Art, and Drama teachers.

Our student wellbeing staff are supporting students in myriad ways, most recently through a whole-school “Zoom-lympics” competition which helped to provide one of the small moments of joy for students each day.

Dr Clayton Massey
Girton Grammar School