Teaching for Independence

One of the leading goals in every classroom should be creating independence in our students. This means teachers are required to step back, stop rescuing, allow students to make mistakes and ask powerful questions about learning.

I love the I.C.T. method, first taught to me by Adrian Rennie in Christchurch. It stands for Individual, Collaborative and Teacher Group. Here is how Adrian explains it…

As with all areas at school, there will be students at different levels of ability in terms of their skill when planning their own learning. To cater for individual needs a teacher can structure it to allow for all competence levels by explaining to students the I.C.T. approach and that they have a choice.

Individual: Students with the technical knowledge and confidence to match will have the ability to plan and implement their own project with little or no teacher input. They will have had experience in planning a project instead of just launching into it. They will have the persistence to see it through to the end and will be able to make it right by eliminating errors. They’ll also be able to evaluate their own work with a view to improving their efforts next time.
Collaborative: Students with the technical knowledge and some confidence may prefer to work within a team. Having other students around them provides reassurance and support. However they are still driving their own learning as the teacher steps back from these groups and only provides support in terms of resourcing and facilitation.
Teacher Group: Students who struggle with the skills or who have yet to master the independent thinking habits needed to be successful will probably work in a teacher group. The teacher works with this team on a project and provides close support while slowly moving them to becoming more independent. They practise the thinking required. Teachers can monitor the make up of this group from project to project and eventually move students to collaborative groups as they become more able.

Once you remove the more capable students from the teacher group, the students remaining must step up. Often these students have taken a back seat and even become ‘learned helpless’ knowing other students will answer and participate. Now they cannot hide. It also allows the teacher to differentiate and cater to the individual needs of a smaller group.

Give it a go…



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Published on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018, under Curriculum design, Learning, Modern learning environment, Teacher Effectiveness

Karen Tui Boyes is a champion for Life Long Learning across nations, industries and organisations. Winner of the NZ Educator of the Year 2017 and 2014 and the NZ Speaker of the Year award in 2013 & 2019, Karen is a sought after speaker who continually gets rave reviews from audiences around the world. Her dynamic style and highly informative content—which turns the latest educational research into easy-to-implement strategies and techniques — sets her apart from others in her field.

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