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Is my child an Independent Learner or Dependent Learner?

Lori Fairbairn
Lori Fairbairn (5 posts) University Guidance Counsellor View Profile

Parents as you continue to support your children at home, we have found it is helpful to consider this question: Is my child an Independent Learner or Dependent Learner? Has it changed with this different learning platform? This article will help you to assess your child’s learning needs. 

Parents as you continue to support your children at home, we have found it is helpful to consider this question:

Lori blog

Has it changed with this different learning platform?

See the table to help assess your child’s learning needs. Ask your child which kind of learner they feel they are?

Independent Learners Prefer:

Dependent Learners Prefer:

Self-directed learning situations

Clear & precise learning instructions

A choice of assessment methods

Very clear assessment outcomes to serve as extrinsic motivation i.e. grades or rewards

The teacher as a mentor or facilitator

A teacher that controls the learning, needs assistance from the teacher

Work usually with little or no supervision

A social learning atmosphere

Non-traditional learning settings

Wish to follow teachers instructions

If you find that your child seems to be missing assignments, it could be that they need a little more support and structure.  Our teachers and learning mentors have been working with all students, but focusing this past week on dependent learners.  In addition to the support we are providing we wanted to provide you with some strategies as to how you could support each type of learner at home.

Independent Learner Strategies

Dependent Learners Strategies

Provide opportunities to discuss what they have learned – both successes & challenges

Help set specific tasks and time allowed for each subject each day. Check on their progress throughout the day.  Working parents – can you call home at lunch to see where they are at?

Ask your child what their goals are and what their learning plans are for the day (this can be done the night before, if you are working during the day).

Tasks should be split into no more than 25-minute chunks, with 5-minute breaks in between – tomatotimer.com is great for helping students stick to those breaks.

Ask them who they will reach out to if they need any assistance or support throughout the day – clarify when you might be available if they want your support

Notify your child’s tutor or class teachers if they have fallen behind, or are struggling with something.

Set up learning opportunities either online or face-to-face with classmates (depending on your comfort level)

Can they have structured learning opportunities with classmates? Can they complete work as a group project?

Check in that they are staying on top of their work.

Set up challenges and rewards for your child when they finish their tasks.

Our goal throughout education is to strive to enable all learners to become more independent.  Hopefully through distance learning your child will develop stronger practices that they can use throughout their schooling.