Learning Independently

Posted on October 21, 2012 by

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The pupil can only educate himself.  Teachers are the custodians of apparatus upon which he himself must turn and twist to acquire the excellencies that distinguish the better from the poorer of God’s vessels.
~Martin H. Fischer

In USHRS this year, I have started to truly appreciate the idea of an independent research class. Not because of the content I am learning, but because of the important skills I am teaching myself and learning to improve on. Because there are very few lectures, and all work is done independently, I get a really great idea of what areas I need work on.  By working on my own, I have learned new skills and improved on old ones much more than I have in previous classes.

ImageLast year, in Age of Exploration, a similar research-based history class, I got the chance to work on skills that are not my strong and improve as a student, a researcher, and an effective worker.  Starting off in USHRS this year, I noticed a difference in my ability to handle and complete class material; in other words, I saw the changes I made last year starting to come into play. In the past, I have struggled to find the appropriate time and place to step up and become a leader. Last year, I tried to focus my energy on learning how to become an effective listener as well as a strong leader, and felt I made progress as the year went on.  In our most recent project, we were split into groups and given a question to answer: what does it mean to be an American in 2012?  My group was made up of three people with very different personalities and very different work styles.  Initially, working together and coming up with a plan was a little challenging. I was the most vocal person in the group, and in this case, felt it was appropriate to step up and lead at certain times.  I know that when I lead, I have a tendency to overpower other people in the group and take complete control.  In this project, I felt I did a much better job of letting other people voice their opinions and holding back my own when I needed to. Although I had a much easier time working in a group, I still needed to push myself to improve.

In addition to working on my skills as a group member, I tried to improve my research skills. I’ve never been a bad researcher, but I have had a tendency to not do any more research that was necessary.  In the beginning of the project, I set myself a very structured outline of tasks to do throughout the project. Each task had a specific deadline, which forced me to work my efficiently throughout the project. I found that, because I had set myself tasks and dates to complete them by, I not only managed my time better, but I researched more efficiently as well. I spent more time deeply analyzing the information I was finding and coming up with ways to take the research even farther.  I felt I had to begun to find information below the surface, or information you need to dig a little to find. I hope to continue to teach myself new and important skills throughout the year, and continue to see improvement in all the work that I do.

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Works Cited

Quote: http://www.quotegarden.com/learning.html

Picture: http://www.google.com/imgres?num=10&hl=en&tbo=d&authuser=0&biw=1275&bih=598&tbm=isch&tbnid=dVG0HloZf2PlNM:&imgrefurl=http://chomplife.wordpress.com/&docid=ognyusPzgCUSZM&imgurl=http://chomplife.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/student-studying.jpg&w=720&h=706&ei=2s6EUPWrKNDliQLX2oG4DQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=187&vpy=165&dur=321&hovh=157&hovw=160&tx=94&ty=122&sig=101136908541490030890&sqi=2&page=1&tbnh=144&tbnw=147&start=0&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:7,s:0,i:158

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Posted in: Learning