Self-directed learning at new Bedford school aims to teach life skills alongside curriculum

Kenneth Palmer

Pupils at a new significant faculty staying developed in Bedford, N.S., will shortly have an prospect to working experience a new strategy to education in the province.

The school, which is slated to open up this September and has not still been named, will provide college students self-directed finding out.

The model will see college students in grades 10 to 12 invest about two-thirds of their time with academics in a standard classroom, and the other a person-third on flex time. 

All through flex time, the pupils can go away the classroom. They will be equipped to conduct self-guided studying in a school ecosystem of their preference — furnishings in the hallways or collaborative areas, the library or open school rooms.

College students will start out their day with a teacher adviser who will be their most important point of make contact with in the course of their many years at the faculty. The teacher adviser will help them program their flex time each day and fulfill with them yet again in the afternoon to make guaranteed they’re on observe.

Vans are parked outside a new high school that's under construction
The new university will supply students in grades 10 to 12 a new product of schooling termed self-directed finding out. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

University principal Sean MacDonald suggests the teacher adviser will be crucial to supporting pupils.

“Higher faculties are large areas and we just want to make sure that each individual scholar is aware of that they have obtained someone that they can go to mainly because that trainer adviser will act as, like, a mentor and advocate for them,” he states.

Mastering life expertise

Pupils will be provided mastering guides that offer reading through materials, back links to videos, assignments and self-evaluations. If they operate into difficulty with the materials, topic teachers will be out there through flex time to assistance them.

MacDonald states self-directed studying will allow for students to use their flex time to aim on subjects they’re struggling with, but it will also educate daily life abilities this kind of as organization, time administration, trouble fixing and collaboration.

“It generates that autonomy for pupils, and when pupils have bigger autonomy, they increase to that,” he says. “I assume which is the massive detail, is that when you present students with choices and means that they operate very best, then you can see them be a lot more productive.”

Closer university student-trainer associations

MacDonald has visited universities in B.C. and Ontario exactly where self-directed mastering is used, and says one of the major differences he recognized was in the relationship amongst students and academics.

“There just appeared to be this ease with each other in conditions of the way that they operated,” he claims. “The marriage is not in any which way strained because it is not me telling you what you will need. The scholar is coming to glimpse for what they want.”

Carla van der Pauw teaches languages at Thomas Haney Secondary School in Maple Ridge, B.C., which has used self-directed finding out since it opened in 1992.

“Pupils are pretty relaxed talking to older people, you know, advocating for on their own to other older people for the reason that we have been practising those skills in what we connect with our open up parts.”

Students work at tables in an open room with high ceilings
Pupils function in 1 of the widespread locations at Thomas Haney Secondary College. (Submitted by Darren Rowell)

She states students are ready to go after initiatives of desire through college time — like creating a robot — that they would not ordinarily be ready to do less than the “manufacturing unit product of instruction.”

But some learners do facial area issues with the freedom that comes together with self-directed studying.

“Some pupils are overcome by option,” she suggests. “They will pick to commit their whole day in the art room simply because that’s what they appreciate, and by no means go to math for the reason that they detest it.”

Perle Suddaby, a Quality 12 scholar at Thomas Haney, suggests self-directed mastering has taught her time administration, organizational capabilities and independence — matters that will be helpful this slide, when she hopes to go to university to analyze laptop or computer science.

“I know it will help me,” she claims, including that she has older good friends who went to Thomas Haney who are now in college. “They are viewing their fellow classmates struggle with the, like, waking up at your 9 a.m. lecture and then not acquiring just about anything else for the rest of the day. But that’s just a day at Thomas Haney.”

Application could grow

MacDonald won’t anticipate any downsides to self-directed finding out.

“I you should not see how this situation does not always function for any unique scholar,” he suggests. “No matter what buildings or points we will need to type of incorporate on to assistance that pupil, we would do.”

The college, which will be found on Wide Road at Larry Uteck Boulevard, will have capability for 1,200 pupils in grades 9 to 12 and will be the very first in Nova Scotia to offer you self-directed learning.

Students do not have to apply to take part all learners in grades 10 to 12 will immediately find out underneath the new product. Learners inside of the catchment spot of the new faculty who do not want to participate can choose to go to a distinctive substantial faculty in the area.

If the model is successful at the new college, it could be expanded to other faculties, MacDonald claims.

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