self learning

The most important job I have as an educator, in my opinion, is to leave my students with the ability to teach themselves.  After all, once they leave our schools they will have a lifetime of learning to acquire.  Most of which without a formal teacher.  I’ve been introducing lessons which make the students use manipulatives, software, and internet resources such as Kahn academy and web quests to learn math skills.  All I’ve been getting from my students is, “I don’t get it”, “how do I do this”, or the usual blank stare of daydreaming.  I know they can give more than i’m seeing, but laziness and unwillingness to think for themselves takes presedence.  Research may state open ended and student centered lessons create better thinking and greater learning outcomes along with higher levels of engagement.  Yet, many of my students will just sit there and do next to nothing unless I hold their hands throughout the exercise.  It has been an uphill battle I have made very little gains with, but I refuse to give in.  Any thoughts on turning this classroom culture around would be greatly appreciated.  Grades are not a motivating factor.  Most of these students have come accustomed to failing and D’s are welcome surprises.