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Ten Reasons Why Self-directed, Child-led Learning Works

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.

— Confucius
I discovered the child-led approach simply by paying attention to what worked. If my child wasn’t interested, learning simply didn't happen. You can’t force someone to want something, but a good teacher’s enthusiasm can be contagious, and it is possible to inspire interest.

But why go to such lengths when interest is already present? Skills in reading, writing, analysis, communication, presentation (and more), are much easier to acquire when the student’s interest is at the center. Yet I was unprepared for the real results of this approach. My children found their direction much earlier than I had thought possible, seeking higher learning in their chosen areas when they were barely middle school age.

The Ten Reasons

  1. When interest and curiosity are present, LEARNING IS ALREADY HAPPENING.

  2. When the student is genuinely interested, learning feels like fun.

  3. When learning is fun, the mind is playful and fully engaged.

  4. With full engagement and playfulness, creativity, problem solving, and research are more fruitful.

  5. Interest equals motivation. Self-directed learning is intensified; deeper and more meaningful than imposed or forced learning.

  6. Unexpected results, often surpassing expectations, happen when curiosity is alert and allowed to lead.

  7. Actively following one’s interests results in connecting with others of like mind, often regardless of age, background, and geographical location.

  8. The pursuit of what we love endures, leading to extended learning experiences. This results in confidence, expertise, and opportunities.

  9. Self-directed learning allows us to be ourselves, encourages self-discovery, and leads to self-awareness.

  10. Ultimately, we each choose our own direction in work and in life. Self-directed learning gives us an early start. Others suffer though a standardized enforced education, waiting for their “real” learning to begin.
quote from Alfred Mercier
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