Thursday, 23 January 2014

#rhizo14 Challenge Week 2 - Enforcing Independance

#rhizo14 Week 2 - Explore a model of enforced independence. How do we create a learning environment where people must be responsible? How do we assure ourselves that learners will self-assess and self-remediate?

To me 'enforcing independence' seem to suggest that the person in concern does not have independence AND does not want to develop it. With reference to some learners this may be true however, there are also (at least a handful of ) learners who are independent and/or willing to develop this independence. Anyway, here are my thoughts of enforcing independence.

I would like to take couple of examples in discussing my thoughts on enforcing independence.

Research Students
Students doing research degrees especially PhDs MUST demonstrate that they can be independent researchers. So how do supervisors support them to become independent?

Learner Drivers
Learner drivers need to develop skills to be safe on the road. They are responsible for their own life as well as others on the road. They have to be able to make judgement, sometimes within split seconds, that will make the difference between life and death.So how do driving instructors support them to become independent?

Young Children
Kids need to learn to become independent - that is to feed themselves, or getting dressed.

However, in most of these cases it is the learner's desire to be independent. Young children want to show that they are capable of things adults do (at least my twins are like that). So they are happy to learn how to get dressed and how to eat on their own.

Learner drivers are paying dearly for lessons. So even not for anything else they would want to stop paying the instructor and be able to drive on their own. But most learner drivers want to take the car out on their own to enjoy the independence that it brings. Again this was true for me. I didn't drive for 14 years despite holding a drivers license, but then with the twins I had to drive because it was difficult to get a double buggy in and out of buses. So I wanted to become independent.

I think most research students want to be independent researchers and thus happily take the advice from their supervisors and do their research. However, I've never been a supervisor, so I have no experience to back this claim. I fear some supervisors may not agree with me.

In the case of Learner Drivers there are rules and laws that enforce them to be safe on the road. For example, if you do not take correct decision say to slow or stop and cause an accident, you will be prosecuted and in the worst case may even end up in jail. For young children do we enforce their independence? We encourage them to become independent well... OK we may say that you will lose X perk if you do not do Y. What about other learners? Do we enforce them or do we show them, encourage them and support them to become independent?

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