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  • Writer's pictureMihir Pathak

Self-directed Learning

What I have learned, very slowly and painfully over the years, is that children make vital decisions for themselves in ways that no adults could have anticipated or ever imagined…
The process of self-direction, or blazing your own way, indeed of living your life rather than passing your time, is natural but not self-evident to children growing up in our civilization. To reach that state of mind they need an environment that is like a family, on a larger scale than the nuclear family, but nonetheless supportive and safe. The staff, by being attentive and caring and at the same time not directive and coercive, gives the children the courage and the impetus to listen to their own inner selves. They know that we [staff] are competent as any adult to guide them, but our refusal to do so is a pedagogical tool actively used to teach them to lsiten only to themselves and not to others who, at best, know only half the facts about them.
– Hanna Greenberg, Sudbury Valley School

At BeMe, we believe in self-directed learning. Facilitators nurture a conducive environment where self-directed learning thrives. And facilitators in the role of Sakha (meaning friend) go that extra mile where a personal connection is developed. Sakha acts like a mirror where children can reflect. Just like the job of mirror to show what is without judgement and evaluation. Sakha asks questions sometimes to understand, to seek clarity. Sakha also acts as a sounding board to listen to children’s ideas, thought processes, disappointments, frustrations etc. Sakha simply gives that allowance needed for a child to bounce back.

Last week, children were allocated to various Sakhas and they have begun their journey of this semester with goal setting. The goal setting process continued this week. Different Sakhas have used different methods to facilitate goal setting. Some children were mostly ready with their goals even before meeting with Sakha. Few children got the triggers needed to set the goals in first the meeting with Sakha. Few are taking their own time to finalize their goals.

Some children pondered over the question: Why set a goal with Sakha? We did not hurry to decide goal and spent time on understanding the need of having some goal. We saw different needs in their requirements. Few children want to plan for few months and meet Sakha once a week. Few children want to meet daily and have their daily goals. And few want to decide weekly goals and want to meet daily.

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