When you take the free will out of education, it becomes academic schooling.
I am sure you agree that self-study is essential in personal and professional growth; in fact, it is essential everywhere. A lot of universities, schools, educational institutions have started to motivate their students to study themselves, to find gaps in their knowledge and skills and investigate ways to fill in those gaps.
Now you may think “Why should I empower my students to study independently, if this is my job and I am earning money with this?”
Believe me that this will make you even more professional; jealousy and egoism in teaching makes the teachers slow down in in their professional growth. Today’s teaching has become more mentorship than instruction-based activity. So,you should walk with the pace of the modern requirements in education.
And let’s discuss the plan of self-study, and that is the process of empowering your students to take control of their education.
First and foremost, your students should know that self-study is driven by self-monitoring and self-discipline. Thus, they should try to take full control of their development. Here are the steps that they should take:
Visualize the outcome
Before we start designing the self-study course, we need to think about the final outcome of the study. Your students need to clarify for themselves what they need to achieve, what result they plan to get, where they want to reach (or you can set goals for them). Without knowing where and what they need to achieve, it is hard to see the way and the methods to get there. So, have them set SMART goals:
Specific- the goal has to be specific to clearly visualize it.
Measurable – they need to be able to use measure to check the progress and final result (for example: to study 10 units of advanced grammar).
Achievable- make sure that goals they have set are possible to achieve in that particular time and conditions.
Realistic –they should not set imaginary or unrealistic goals, even if they sound very attractive.
Time-bound – they can be defined by deadlines; deadlines push us to focus on the work we have to do.
Set goals: input and outcome goals
So, tell them to start backward. As soon as the goals are defined specifically,they need to set the milestones for the progress; we can call them input goals. Those goals are incremental, ongoing, progress checking goals, that ensure that they are in the right way.
Decide what resources and materials they will use
In this digital world, they can use a lot of online resources, but they should be careful to choose the ones that are trustworthy and professional. Tell them to choose the resources that have answers so that they can check to see whether they are right or wrong or provide them with such resources. Make sure that the resources they use are a little challenging. If they do not see any challenge in what they do, then the progress will be really slow.
Do enough and regularly
Just because they become their own teacher and mentor, it puts an ultimate responsibility on themselves. It is critical that they make sure they study regularly and enough. They should not procrastinate or find an excuse not to study just because there is no teacher. Only in this way, they will be able to mark the progress. You as a teacher can choose to guide this and ask them report you about any progress regularly.
Test the knowledge
When they start working on tasks, they should choose those where they made more mistakes and copy the task in a “progress check” file. Later, when it comes the time to test the progress, they can refer to this file and do the tasks they have copied here.
An example of English self-study course
Here is what you can tell your students if you want to empower them to study themselves when they are in a long business trip, or for some reasons they cannot afford learning with a teacher:
Check your English language level and decide where you want to reach. You may have a pre-intermediate level and need to reach the upper intermediate level.
Find the books and internet resources of intermediate and upper intermediate level. There are numerous resources, both digital and offline.
Mark the milestones. To achieve the upper intermediate level, you need to master the intermediate level first. It means, your first milestone will be to check whether you have succeeded in the intermediate level.
Start planning the whole course. To accomplish one level in English, you need to achieve this level of knowledge in all four skills: speaking, writing, reading, listening. Along with these, you will need to enrich your vocabulary and improve grammar.
Plan the weekly work. Each week concentrate on two skills: speaking and listening, writing and reading. Do not forget that we assume working with vocabulary and grammar every week. Every week choose one and only one topic to work. So, whatever you do, you should do on this topic. For example, you choose the topic “Family”. Choose the reading text about the family at an intermediate level, then choose the listening task about a family at an intermediate level, then write the short version of your text about family and make a short speech about family.
Decide what grammar and vocabulary you will need to be able to speak about family and choose these tasks to focus on grammar and learn the new words.
Now when you have accessed tasks, texts, audio or video materials about the family, copy the sentences that you liked most on your progress check file. Take out the phrases from the sentences and design a gap fill task.
Choose the most challenging grammar task and copy it in this file as well.
After a week, you can check your knowledge doing the tasks in this file.
Thus, the success of your studebts is in your hands, and if you help them to plan self-study properly, they will soon be able to celebrate success being proud of themselves and your work.