Self-directed learning is an important teaching and learning strategy that engages students in the learning process to acquire higher-order thinking skills such as constructing their own understanding and meaning, learning to reason, problem solve and think critically about content (Borich, p. 330). In this approach, the role of the teacher is simply to mediate and adjust the flow of content and complexity toward the intended outcome or objective; there are no wrong answers.
According to Borich, when it comes to self-directed learning, my role will be more of a “monitor and co-inquirer than an information provider” because the knowledge and skills that the students are intended to acquire are not regurgitated or pre-packaged, active exploration and engagement is necessary to reach the finished product (Borich, pp. 332, 334).
I remember English classes in high school where teachers would lecture at me and I became a very passive learner–which probably plays a large role in why I did not realize my love for literature until college. In college, self-directed and discussion-based, cooperative learning was the foundation of each class session and we were required to take responsibility for our learning and to be active participants in the inquiry and discovery of meanings in our texts. This method of learning made all the difference for me and so I intend to employ it when instructing my future high school literature students.
Borich, G.D. (2010). Effective Teaching Methods (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.