Monday, April 7, 2014

Students Dislike Independent Learning

When Young Children Hate School by wecometolearn
One of the biggest complaints that I get from students who come back from university to visit is that I don't force them to learn on their own enough. So today I tried to get my grade 12 Data Management class to learn on their own from the textbook. In doing so, I was reminded why I don't do it very often. Students hate it!

I started today by letting my class know about the feedback I have received from former students. We talked about how being able to learn on your own is a valuable skill. I provided a few pointers on how to pull out important information and then let them work.

I saw varied levels of participation. Some students were blindly copying definitions, others skipped right to the assigned work without reading and some didn't do much of anything.

Some of the comments I heard were:

"Can't you just teach us?"
"Why do I need to do this. I'm not taking math in university?"
"As I read this I don't remember anything."

I should point out that the content being covered wasn't difficult, which is why I chose to make this section independent. The barrier wasn't the content. It was the reading. Not that they can't read but that they'd rather not read.

I feel like reading to gather information is a valuable skill, in all aspects of life. I'd like to help my students become better at it, but today was very painful (for them and for me). What strategies do you use to help students get better at learning from a book?