Freedom to work at your own pace is a key ingredient for 2017 Year 12 Woodthorpe student Micah Jackson, and this is why self-directed was such an important part of his time at OneSchool.
“This freedom allowed for me to focus on subjects that were harder or perhaps required more work than others,” says Micah. “Personally, it was ATAR subjects that I focused on in my SDL. SDL is also great in the way that it develops the skill to take responsibility for your own learning rather than being pushed by a teacher to do so.”
Now Micah is working, how does using SDL at school relate to is career?
“It has helped me in the workplace in that responsibility must be taken and decisions must be made,” he says. “Before I started the SDL journey I went to school and just did what the teacher told me to do – along with most other students. In the SDL environment, this is no longer an option. Often there are times when you are left to do what you choose and, ultimately, it was this decision-making and responsibility that is helping me in the real world. In the workplace, decisions must be made and responsibility must be taken and SDL helped develop this skill.
“The benefits of the SDL and virtual classroom (VC) learning mechanism are endless. The term ‘self-directed’ is so much more than just something that happens in the schooling scheme of things. In the real world, this is the skill or trait that will help you become employed, or should I say, help become a more employable person.”
What surprised Micah the most about learning via VC and SDL was that by the end of year 12 he had learned to love the environment. During Year 7, he had had no VC lessons and no SDs. As the years went he felt his schooling and will to succeed improved dramatically.
“I certainly didn’t excel, but I left with no regrets, which can partly be attributed to this way of learning,” he says. “I guess what also surprised me was that suddenly we were given the freedom to choose what we were going to do in an SDL. This was something that was completely different to what we were used to. From the days of going to school and going to every lesson in a face-to-face environment, we were all of a sudden in a class without the teacher actually being in the room. The trust that was required in this scenario can only be said to develop a certain maturity. I believe it is this change that instills the sense of responsibility in an individual.”
For those starting the SDL journey, Micah recommends that students make use of their time and of the immense resources that are available to them. He believes teachers are still a student’s greatest resource.
“One thing that I noticed from doing a number of years of VC/SDL is that often students in the VC environment are too scared to ask questions,” he says. “One piece of advice that I will give is to ask questions and not be left hanging without answers. Even if students are too scared to ask over VC in front of the class, they can easily ask via Canvas or email.”
Other advice he gives is to plan ahead even if this is only for five minutes before school, or perhaps in the form period. He says thinking ahead with SDL lessons means that you can’t just walk in and then have to decide what is to be done. Planning also helps develop the skill of having to be diligent and take responsibility.
“To become self-directed is a vital skill that absolutely everyone requires,” he says. “Rather than waiting to be instructed, someone who is self-directed will progress even without instructions.”