Independent learning empowers children to pursue their own talents and interests – Informial



Information (The Jakarta Post)

Jakarta ●
Tue 23 March 2021


To free

Education professionals have recently recognized that a single program serves neither students nor teachers in academic terms. Each student has their own interests and talents and it is important that educators encourage them to engage in independent and exploratory learning, which is essential for students to identify and pursue their ever-changing interests and talents.

The idea of ​​independent learning, in which students adapt their learning styles to their own talents and interests, has also become mainstream at the political level in Indonesia, in particular with the Merdeka Belajar (Freedom of Learning) initiative. of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The initiative has encouraged educational institutions from primary education to university level.

If we look at the examples of practitioners, the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS), for its part, always strives to instill these traits in students throughout its education programs, spanning kindergarten through to kindergarten level. ‘at the grade 12 level. The independent learning program particularly seeks to help students develop and expand their talents, while exploring the divergence and convergence of their interests in a process facilitated by their teachers.

According to JIS School Principal Tarek Razik, the role of educators in supporting the independent learning journey of students lies in providing a safe and nurturing environment in which students can pursue their own intellectual interests. and creative. This safe environment, he said, was essential in encouraging each child to think critically and independently, while cultivating a love of lifelong learning and internal motivation.

Examples of how students are trained to take charge of their own learning in pursuit of their own talents and interests at JIS can be seen at all of its campuses, namely JIS Early Years at Pondok Indah Elementary School from Pondok Indah and Pattimura as well as middle and high school to Cilandak – all in South Jakarta. We will illustrate how.

Farheen, a JIS Class of 2020 graduate, has been accepted to one of the Ivy League schools, the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Ivy League schools, recognized for their academic excellence, are considered some of the most prestigious universities in the world. (./.)

Climb the educational ladder

“Children are proficient learners with an innate curiosity for the world, so starting in kindergarten, JIS students have multiple opportunities to explore and engage in their natural curiosities; they are invited to ask questions and draw logical conclusions, ”said Razik. Exposing students to various subjects, as well as areas of interest, has become essential so that they can compare and contrast these things in order to find their true learning path.

Throughout, they are guided and observed by experienced educators as they make sustained and independent decisions. These can range from creating their own home learning spaces, planning and then implementing service learning initiatives, and choosing elective courses that will allow them to pursue their interests, tailoring their own college preparatory program consisting of an International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced. Placement course (AP).

These independent learning activities, which were encouraged by JIS among its students even before the pandemic, have proven to be effective at this time, where students have to do distance learning for an extended period of time.

As students progress through JIS grade levels, they have access to a wider and more diverse range of choices and responsibilities. An important part of JIS Middle School is that students are exposed to a variety of experiences and are encouraged to try something new. By the time they reach ninth grade, the start of high school, they are ready to thrive in the adult world, gaining even greater independence and facing more responsibilities as self-regulated individuals.

JIS High School Vice Principal Ryan Campbell described the basic philosophy behind it as preparing students for success by treating them as if they were already successful young adults. This is essential to give students enough self-esteem to embark on their own independent learning journey, while seeking help if needed.

“They enjoy increasing independence thanks to our Honor Pass system, an emphasis on self-advocacy and a large number of course options to choose from,” he explained.

Honor Pass is a 75-minute block of free time that students have every alternate day outside of breaks, during which they can meet teachers, work on projects with classmates, visit the library, or just relax. Between lessons.

Both a right and a privilege, Honor Pass is intended to strengthen students’ time management skills and is considered an essential part of the JIS High School experience. The Honor Pass also aims to give students time to develop their socio-emotional skills by interacting with their fellow campus residents.

In Grades 11 and 12, the real menu of courses they can choose from is further expanded under the academically rigorous IB and AP programs. Recognized internationally, both offer specific subjects that allow participants to focus on developing the skills and knowledge they will need for the field of study they decide to pursue after graduation. diploma. The AP course is also available for grade 10 students, one of the few schools in Indonesia where this is an option.

“This carefully structured path to college means that as a student progresses through high school they in turn grow as an independent individual,” said Campbell. “With this increased freedom comes increased responsibility and we find that our focus on learning through service and the thinking of others is another essential element in helping students develop the maturity they will need to be successful at university and in adulthood. ”

For students, this extensive approach is undeniably difficult, but the agency they have over their own learning makes their experience all the more satisfying. Farheen, a JIS Class of 2020 graduate, for example, felt that by simply asking her what she wanted, JIS gave her “a voice I didn’t know I had.”

“JIS’s inquiry-based, student-centered learning approach taught me to be truly self-reliant, instead of depending on my teachers for additional information and resources,” he said. she declared.

“I discovered the delicate balance between being resourceful and asking for help, a combination that I know will come in handy in college. I hope to use this newfound confidence and autonomy to make a difference in my new home.

By the way, Farheen’s “home” is currently the University of Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a double degree at the Ivy League College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School of Business. She is one of six students in her class to be accepted into Ivy League universities. Other JIS graduates went to prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Cambridge University, Cornell, Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Stanford, University of Toronto and Boston University.

“We are a very lucky and resourceful school [that] treats each student uniquely. And by the time students are ready to apply to college, they have had every opportunity to identify and apply to the course that fits their individual profile, ”added Campbell. “It’s all of these things and more that mean that when our young Dragons walk through the sacred JIS graduation scene, we know they are ready to spread their wings and successfully fly through college and life beyond. “

We can see that independent learning helps students go through their inquiry-based education more effectively by leveraging the talents and interests they already have. Moreover, by tailoring their studies to their interests, students will also be much happier in the process, which will hopefully bring them the joy of exploring and reinventing themselves throughout their lives no matter what. the domain they choose.

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