Why Self-Directed Learning?

We are giving students the chance to self-direct their learning because students need to have the capacity to self-regulate. They need to be capable of being autonomous in their learning, because to be successful today and tomorrow we all need to be capable of continuously re-inventing ourselves. We need to know where to find information to help us continue learning on our own, where to find and how to contact experts in different fields, and how to judge what's important to learn. It's an essential trait for contemporary life in a globalized world: You have to be capable of self-directing. Right now and in the future, the people who are going to be most successful are going to be doing this.

One thing we are doing at WAB through our Capstone Program is teaching kids how to create their own curriculum. Learning how to identify an area of interest and learning how to successfully achieve a goal that you've identified is an important part of learning how to self-direct. It's not entirely about the content of what a student is learning; it's also about how to identify an area of learning, dive deeply into it, understand what high-level learning is and then achieve a goal. It's not about one day learning how to cook a pancake and the next to figure out how to fly a kite. It's developing resilience – try things, fail, get up again, try again, and so on. It's being resilient in the face of failure.

That's what it means to reinvent yourself.

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