Why should we encourage independent learning in our children?

Feb 2012
Why should we encourage independent learning in our children?
Independent learning skills prepare children for personal and professional success later in life.

Consider what skills and attributes your child will need to be successful later in life, not just in school and homework but in all aspects of life. Are you thinking about confidence, independence, concentration and self-motivation? All of these are attributes of an independent learner and this is something that we can nurture in our children from a young age.

Andrew Loh of Brainy Child states that:
"Independent learning is all about your children seizing available opportunities and time to think, plan, develop and execute their preferred play and interests. It also means that your child will be able to extend his or her learning process to different domains that eventually lead to an all-round personality development."

Directed teaching for a specific topic may help our children pass an exam or get a high mark for a homework task but it doesn't prepare them to answer questions on different topics or help them to overcome challenges beyond school work. As the saying goes: "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach him how to fish and he eats for life." Independent learning skills help a child to experience a situation or challenge they have never experienced before and enable them to utilise their independent skills to confidently solve the problem.

Children who develop independent learning skills at a young age can therefore apply these skills to many areas of learning and life, both at school and beyond. This does not mean that we shouldn't help and support our children when necessary but rather encourages us to take a step back and allow our children the opportunity to problem-solve and tackle new challenges independently. It is only by doing this that we get a true understanding of our child's level of knowledge and understanding.

As our children start to take ownership of their learning and experience success they also develop invaluable confidence and self-motivation. This can increase their enjoyment across a wide range of subjects at school whilst also preparing them for personal and professional success later in life.

Equipping children with the knowledge and skills for use at school and throughout their adult life can therefore unlock your child's potential and build a brighter future for them. Rewarding and praising your child when they display examples of independent learning is also vital for their growing confidence and development.

As parents, we naturally want our children to succeed in life and are becoming more involved in their education and long-term development. School, of course, plays a pivotal role, but many parents now seek additional support in terms of growing skills for learning and skills for life. This comes as part of our natural desire to provide our children with the best possible chance for a brighter future and fulfilment in life.