Patience helps independent learners develop

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Photo credit: Project 365 Challenge

As I’ve written on several occasions, a successful Results Only Learning Environment requires patience and perseverance. When students struggle early on with project-based learning and self-evaluation, I sometimes find myself wanting to return to worksheets and grades.

Of course, I don’t give in to these urges. As I tell my students, we have to stay the course. It always pays dividends in the end.

I’m seeing these dividends now in a class that not more than a month ago, I was concerned might never adapt to results-only learning. Many students just didn’t seem to be improving.

This week, though, it suddenly struck me that things were clicking. One girl, who has been a reluctant participant in our year-long reading project, was quietly devouring a book, unwilling to look up from her rapidly-turning pages. Another young lady, who had expressed dissatisfaction with the class earlier in the year, was eagerly bookmarking and annotating a web article she’d located, making a special effort to come to me and ask how the annotation looked. Two more students were sitting together quietly reading to one another from a novel I’d just distributed and asked them to read by the end of spring break.

I was amazed by the quality of production in the room. Patience with the results-only system had helped reluctant students develop into independent learners. It seemed like a long wait, but it was definitely worth it.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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