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Self-Paced Learning

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Old February 16th, 2014 (1:07 PM). Edited February 17th, 2014 by Raine.
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Raine Raine is offline
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Integrated into the topic of education, self-paced instruction/learning refers to the method of teaching that allows freedom to the learner. They are able to learn at their own pace and the curriculum could potentially be modified/changed to suit their needs. Apparently this sort of teaching is becoming increasingly popular within classrooms and online courses, but there are disadvantages. Education in high school, in particular, is somewhat a platform for students' futures in the workforce or further education in post-secondary institutions. With this structure of learning, there is the strong possibility of them developing a procrastinating nature in everything they do from that point onwards.

As explained, vaguely as it may seem, there are advantages and disadvantages to self-paced instruction. What are your thoughts or opinions on it? Do you think more schools should move towards this type of learning practice or keep the traditional way?

From my personal experience of being in self-paced program during high school, it honestly did little to help me for the future. There were "units" that contained the material we were to learn that week and it was our responsibility to keep on track. Since there were 20 weeks in a semester, majority of students would slack for the first half and hand in the maximum "2 units per week" during the last half. Sure it taught people to be responsible, but in essence, that leads to them becoming a procrastinator. Even after 3 years of leaving high school, I still find myself cramming for assignments and exams. The self-paced learning I think gave students too much control; the teachers never reminded any of us when things were due because there were never any solid "due dates."

As a result, students who were unable to finish the course within the 20 weeks were allowed to "carryover" meaning that could take another semester to complete it, but that would mean jeopardizing their graduation date. Thankfully though, I was one of those people who obtained all my required credits beforehand and actually had a part-time student status by the last year. Nevertheless though, the lack of due dates didn't help to prepare me for university or college.

/feel free to move or close the topic if you feel like it doesn't fit or warrant enough discussion.
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Old February 16th, 2014 (1:28 PM).
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    I'd say go for the traditional style of learning. The major drawback of self paced learning seems to be that students can have as much slack as they want, and while having extra time and help for those who need it isn't a bad idea, those who really procrastinate won't be helped much by this, and the grades'll be affected. The traditional way dosen't give time for students to procrastinate and gives the students a sense of urgency and this they will get down to the task at hand. For those who need help or are lagging behind, they can always approach teachers to help them and / or coach them. And I'm not saying that kidsare generally like that, but sometimes they need the help of others to guide them and pull them away from the distractions sometimes. Giving the kids the responsibility to keep on track may not be applicable for everyone, as some people tend to disengage completely when they find that no one watches over them. For the more mature and independent students though, they'll benefit, but how about the others? And the fact that this concerns their education and all dosen't give students much assurance that they can learn responsibility along the way without screwing up at some point.

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    Old February 16th, 2014 (1:39 PM).
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    I actually went to a school with a self-paced curriculum from fifth to eighth grade. It really depends on what kind of learner you are. For me it was a benefit because I work better when I set my own schedule and work at my own pace. That's still the case for me today. I think it gives students more of a sense of responsibility over their own work and their own education. When it was time for me to go to high school, it resulted in me being a grade ahead, but I think it may have also contributed to my "I'll get to it when I feel like it" mentality. So it has its benefits and its consequences.

    I think both options should exist, since it really depends on the individual student. Different people have different ways of learning.
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    Old February 16th, 2014 (3:02 PM).
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      No matter how much I despise deadlines personally, I do think they are a great way to help students practice self-discipline for future life stuff and whatnot. The world does not wait for you and that's an important lesson.

      At the same time, I hate the way that some students simply don't have the mental capacity to learn as fast as the teacher is teaching, and as a consequence they get poor grades that probably hurt their self esteem, ultimately creating a vicious cycle of damaging their performance more and more. ]:

      I'm not sure how it would be done, but I just think students should be challenged yet not restricted.
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