Teaching in a self-paced learning environment isn’t for everyone. It takes a growth mindset and a flexible personality willing to take risks, and put relationships at the forefront of learning. Is this you?
Even if this isn’t you, it’s important to recognize the importance of self-paced learning in the classroom.
Self-paced learning puts students at the center. Learning becomes their responsibility; their job in the classroom. In the classroom, it opens up the opportunity for students to learn not only the content, but to self-manage their learning and positively collaborate with their peers.
As an instructor, you must redefine your role. If you’re a sage on the stage, you must immediately stop what you’re doing. Being a sage on the stage is counterproductive in a self-paced environment. How students demonstrate their learning and how they learn in the classroom is up to them, not you. A guide on the side is an improvement, as it puts learning into the hands of students, but the teacher still has a prominent role in the classroom. However, if you want to be most effective as a self-paced instructor, you have to hang up your teacher hat and start becoming comfortable with the highest seat in the bleachers. Up in the nosebleeds, you have the opportunity to cheer on your students as they navigate the slippery success and failure slope. However, you are close enough that you can swoop down and help them navigate the slope if necessary.
Self-paced teaching and learning isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience on both the teacher and student’s part. However, it opens up the doors to building a classroom culture where learning is key.