Starting a School: Have a Good Idea?

Over the years, many people have inquired about the mechanics of starting a school that emphasizes self-directed learning. I launch programs but have never started a school.


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New Section: Personal Development

I write these to help you to live better--to be happier, to relate better to others, and to accomplish more. I want you to be successful and to feel successful. Let’s get going and let’s make it so...

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New Blog!

New Blog by Maurice coming soon. Expect the first entry Sunday September 25, 2016.


Teaching SDL

January 05, 11

About Self-Directed Learning There are many different kinds of self-directed learning programs and many ways to deliver them. To make sure we are all on the same page, I've outlined some of the basics that this site uses. Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is any increase in knowledge, skill or performance pursued by any individual for personal reasons employing any means, in any place at any time at any age. Moving from Teacher-Directed Learning to Self-Directed Learning Teacher-Directed Learning (TDL). Teachers or other authorities choose what is learned, why it is to be learned, how it is to be learned, when, where and at what age. The SDL Spectrum The spectrum refers to degrees of SDL ranging from entirely teacher-directed learning (TDL) to SDL as defined above. The spectrum includes the following stages or degrees of movement toward SDL. Incidental Self-Directed Learning. The occasional introduction of SDL activities into courses or programs that are otherwise teacher-directed (e.g. individual projects, stations, or brief introduction of any other forms of SDL on the spectrum). Teaching Students to Think Independently. Courses or programs that emphasize the personal pursuit of meaning through exploration, inquiry, problem solving and creative activity (e.g. debates, case studies, investigations, trials, dramatizations, fieldwork). Self-Managed Learning. Courses or programs presented through learning guides that students complete independently. Self-Planned Learning. Courses or programs in which students pursue course outcomes through activities they design themselves. Self-Directed Learning. Courses or programs in which students choose the outcomes, design their own activities and pursue them in their own way. Using the Spectrum Teachers can use the spectrum of approaches to SDL in various ways: »As a menu from which to select activities and approaches for their own course or programs, or to select the program they wish to introduce. »As stages in a graduated approach to SDL in their courses that moves them and their students step by step from SDL to SDL. »As a guide to a school program designed to lead students year by year to greater self-direction with the senior year an SDL year, possibly featuring passages, significant challenges based upon the Walkabout concept. Preparing Your Program A program can and will be prepared in many different ways, but here is a brief outline that hits the highlights of any approach you take: 1.Define your course or program in 20-30 outcome statements, outcomes that students must achieve. 2.Select an approach to SDL from the spectrum. 3.Outline the skills, processes and systems that students must master to be skillfully self-directed. Plan an environment that is appropriate for self-directed learning activities. 4.Create the infrastructure for self-direction, self-motivation and self-assessment, such as, learning proposals, portfolios, and public presentations. I will add to these site basics over time. They comprise a kind of site dictionary of ideas referred to throughout the other sections. For more details see: Maurice Gibbons. The Self-Directed Learning Handbook Wiley, 2002.


Becoming Self Directed

January 12, 11

Section A of this site is devoted to SDL schooling; Section B is devoted to individuals who want to use SDL in their lives. During the months ahead, a number of activities will be added to this section, roughly in sequence, to guide anyone who wants to become more productive through their own efforts. The first activity is a quick look at why self-direction is important to you. The second activity is a transparent self-survey to analyze how self-directed you are already. The main purpose of the survey is to introduce the major themes involved in becoming skilfully self-directed and to get you started on them right away. My intention is to make this program as activity based as possible so that you can use it, and so that you can use it with others. You will soon notice that there are many differences between the themes of SDL for life and the main themes of schooling. We will be focusing on your intentions, not mine. The emphasis will not be on content and testing your mastery of it. Rather, the emphasis will be on you taking action that will lead to more effective productivity. Any assessment we do will be to find the ways we can improve the process you are using and to improve your performance. You will also notice a number of items on the survey refer to aspects of character; that is because certain personal traits are essential for becoming a successfully productive person. Remember, the two surveys are for your eyes and your use only. TRY SOME OF THE SELF DIRECTED ACTIVITIES: When you have completed the test, summarize your results. Future activities will develop the themes introduced in the test, but you do not need to wait for them. Consider what you might do on your own to develop those aspects that need work. Enjoy! Let’s have some fun becoming more productive. Moving forward always feels good.


Activity 1 - Reasons Why Becoming More Self-Directed Is Important to You

September 30, 11

Maurice Gibbons (c) 2008 Personal Power Press International Which of these reasons best describes how becoming more self-directed will make your life better—it’s always good to start out new activities with good reasons behind you! Check off the items that speak for you. I’m looking forward to… 1. Figuring out what my strengths are and how to use them effectively. 2. Learning how to select a field of interest and become informed about it. 3. Finding my way to the self-help section of the bookstore (really?). 4. Developing my ability to generate new ideas. 5. Becoming skilled at setting goals for myself. 6. Knowing how to lay out plans for getting my jobs done. 7. Finding my voice among all of the other voices telling me what to do. 8. Learning how to tell which end of anything—or anyone—is up (well?). 9. Knowing how to cope with problems I run into while trying to get my work done. 10. Finding out how to energize and motivate myself to become highly productive. 11 Finding out how I can learn anything faster and more effectively. 12. Learning how I can keep developing every day by living a productive life-style. 13. Finding out my own special ways of learning anything well. 14. Developing the attitudes of success. 15. Finding a deeper, richer feeling of enjoyment and fulfillment in my life. 16. Learning how to master skills that I want or need to develop. 17. Taking charge of myself and my life. 18. Learning how to organize time, resources, effort and contacts effectively 19. Developing the subtle skills of the wildfire lover (activity #73, so hang in there). 20. For my personal reason, which is… ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What Do I Do With My Results? As you glance back, what do you see as your main interest in becoming more self-directed? If you will email that statement of interest to me, I will use it to guide me as I design future activities. Will you also let me know which of these you prefer: A. Keep a little fun in the units, or B. Cut the wisecracks and stick with business. Finally, your suggestions for making this program better are welcomed at any time. Thanks. Notice that you have already started self-directed activities. You made your own choices. And that’s just the beginning.


Links to Contacts, Resources & Organizations

January 05, 11

Gifted Program Montgomery County Feynman School collaborates with some of the world‚s foremost authorities on early gifted education and linguistics to develop our programming. 100 Terrific Self-Learning Sites to Boost Your Resume During the Recession (ours included) Self Improvement Unlimited - Personal Development Step by Step Roger Hiemstra's Web Page - Adult learning Joesph A. Braun - Walkabout Self-Directed Learning Forum SDL Forum Distance learning courses in Jamaica College Counselors - As private college admissions consultants and Top College Specialists, we offer high-achieving students first-rate, professional counseling services for admission to Ivy League universities, top tier colleges and other selective, top 100 colleges.



Welcome! This site supports teaching self-directed learning (SDL) and becoming a self-directed person. It supports home-schooling, experiential education, open schooling and life-long learning. Keeping a journal, setting goals, planning and taking action are key tools. Self-improvement, personal development and the development of character are central themes of SDL.

In self-directed learning (SDL), the individual takes the initiative and the responsibility for what occurs. Individuals select, manage, and assess their own learning activities, which can be pursued at any time, in any place, through any means, at any age. In schools, teachers can work toward SDL a stage at a time. Teaching emphasizes SDL skills, processes, and systems rather than content coverage and tests. For the individual, SDL involves initiating personal challenge activities and developing the personal qualities to pursue them successfully. This website is devoted to illuminating these principals as they apply to schooling and to life.