Student Autonomy and Self-Directed Learning: Empowering Students in the IPGCE Program

The IPGCE program at the University of Derby places a high value on student autonomy and self-directed learning. Recognising that empowered students are more engaged, motivated, and successful, the program aims to prepare educators who can foster these qualities in their classrooms. This article delves into how the IPGCE program equips educators to encourage student autonomy and self-directed learning.


Strategies for encouraging student autonomy in learning and project management

The IPGCE program teaches educators various strategies to encourage student autonomy. These include scaffolding techniques that gradually release responsibility to students and project-based learning, where students take the lead in planning, executing, and evaluating projects. Educators are trained to act as facilitators rather than directors, providing guidance only when necessary.


The role of choice and freedom in the curriculum to foster self-directed learning

Choice and freedom are integral to the IPGCE curriculum. Educators learn how to design lessons and assignments that offer multiple pathways for completion, allowing students to choose topics, methods, and even assessment formats that align with their interests and strengths. This fosters a sense of ownership and engagement, which is crucial for self-directed learning.


Preparing educators to facilitate student-led initiatives and independent projects

The program includes modules that prepare educators to facilitate student-led initiatives. They are taught how to set guidelines, provide resources, and offer constructive feedback, all while giving students the space to explore, make mistakes, and learn from them. This prepares educators to manage classrooms where students feel empowered to take charge of their learning.


The significance of self-assessment and reflective practices in student autonomy

Self-assessment and reflective practices are emphasised in the IPGCE program. Educators are trained to incorporate these into their teaching methods, encouraging students to evaluate their performance and reflect on their learning journey. This enhances metacognitive skills and fosters a sense of autonomy and responsibility in students.


How the IPGCE program integrates principles of self-directed learning into its teaching methods

The IPGCE program is designed to be a living example of its principles. Educators themselves experience self-directed learning through research projects, peer teaching, and reflective practice. This firsthand experience equips them with the insights and skills to integrate self-directed learning into their teaching methods.


In summary, the IPGCE program at the University of Derby is committed to fostering student autonomy and self-directed learning. By equipping educators with the strategies, tools, and understanding to implement these principles, the program aims to produce graduates capable of creating classrooms where students are empowered to take charge of their educational journeys.

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