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Education has always been about marks and how much a child has scored. No one has bothered to understand what was taught. The agenda has always been to complete the portion for the term and make sure their children did well.

Most children who could memorise what was being taught did well, while the other did badly. However today schools have realised the importance of teaching the concept, in various studies done by universities, it is seen that if a child understands the concept, the brain will retain the information for a longer period and eventually the child may even use the information they have. Hence more and more schools are looking at personalising learning.

This encourages children to be independent learners. Now, what do we mean by an 'Independent Learner'. It means when a child is actively involved in deciding what and how they learn. This ensures that the child is more engaged and motivated.

Ensuring your child is in a learning environment that encourages free play, dedicates time for projects and project-based learning, will build 'independent learning skills' in your child. Choosing the right preschool and school plays a big role in this regard as these skills are developed at an early age (at the preschool level) and then honed/ refined as the child reaches high school.

By the time the child is out of school, he/she is able to pick up new things, concepts at work, face challenges in business and is a life-long learner. It is important for parents, caregivers and schools to build independent learning as the end goal is confident children that are able to solve complex problems, overcome challenges or learn different topics by themselves.

Each child has their learning capabilities and to give each child an equal opportunity it is important to encourage children to become independent learners.

Here are a few ways of encouraging independent learning in children:
1. Let children define their learning goals: each child has their learning capabilities and their ways of learning. Allow children to use this to their advantage and let them define their learning goals and once they have been agreed upon with the teacher let them follow it.
2. Let children monitor their own goals: along with defining their learning goals guide children on how to monitor their learning, put some self-assessment tests in place for them to figure out how much of the concept they have grasped, if they do not do well, let them go back and learn it once more and take a reassessment.
3. Guide children on self-assessment: Let children with the assistance of the teacher set a self-assessment target and monitor it at all times.
4. Use the concept of the flip classroom: Flip classroom is where the teacher and children are equally involved in the learning and teaching process. Let children research the topic to be discussed and come up with their way of explaining it to their peers. The teacher is more of a facilitator where she makes sure the class is going in the right direction.
5. Let children reflect on their learning: Once the topic has been discussed, assign each child to share their learning outcomes. Each child picks up different things and reflecting on each other's outcomes will help the class collectively.
6. Provide stepwise learning material for home extensions: For home assignments, it is very essential to provide stepwise learning material so that there is no scope for assumptions or doing something entirely different.
7. Let children have group discussions: In group discussions children tend to learn and respect other people's point of view. They also pick on learning outcomes they would have missed. Hence allow group discussions where the teacher is the moderator.
8. Encourage children to work with their peers: Encourage children to share their knowledge and collaborate with others. The future is all about collaborating with like-minded people. This develops social skills and an acceptance to work cohesively.

Independent learners adapt to different environments with ease and don't shy away from challenging topics. They from the smallest incidents and learn from their failures. For the fast paced and uncertain world that we live in it is important to make children lifelong learners and build them to be independent so that they can adapt to different situations.
So parents, we encourage you to look for preschools and schools that focus on personalised learning and that build independent learning in children.

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