What is self-directed education?

Every person is born with the ability and desire to learn. So why do some people abandon the practice of learning later in life?

In his introductory video Professor Peter Gray discusses the concept of self-directed education and why we need to implement it in our school systems.

Imposed Schooling

According to Gray, “...children come into the world biologically designed to educate themselves.”

Research reveals that children have a natural inclination towards exploration. When they are young students see learning as a way to have fun and make discoveries.

As they age students begin to associate education with stress and anxiety due to structured classrooms, strict curricula and difficult tests.

Children don't need to be told to learn and in many ways imposed schooling can hinder rather than enhance individual education.

Shallow Learning

This leads to what Gray refers to as “shallow learning”. The quality of learning is low because the student's aim is no longer to discover the world but to prepare for exams.

As a result of this high pressured environment children are unable to obtain a deep understanding of the idea or subject they are learning.

Self-Directed Learning

In contrast students who are allowed to pursue their interests in a safe, non-judgemental environment see education very differently.

“Self-directed education is education that derives from the self-chosen activities and life experience of the person...”

Students are motivated by “curiosity, playfulness and sociability” rather than the desire to compete with others.

According to Gray this learning model can incorporate lessons and classes but that is not the primary way that learning takes place. Instead students set the pace and agenda for their own learning programme.

Rather than enforcing conformity, students are nurtured to follow their natural interests in order to pursue their unique path.

For more insights watch

By Cindy Payle - Portal Publishing