THE FUNNY TWIST OF INDEPENDENT LEARNING

Laura Sandefer

June 10, 2014

My favorite line from The Princess Bride is: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

It is the same with Independent Learning at Acton.

We keep using that word. But what we mean is something much different, ultimately.

During the early years at Acton, all sights are on the blue binder on the shelf: The Independent Learner Binder. Eagles earn the privilege of receiving the binder only after mastering specific learning milestones.

These milestones add up to a foundation of critical skills in learning how to learn, learning to do and learning to be. It is big stuff and it takes years to get that binder in hand.

The Eagles know that the challenges within the blue binder come with one caveat: they must be completed without any help from parents or guides.

Ironically, that is the last time “independence” is the means or the end of a learning badge at Acton.

From then on, it’s all about collaboration, accountability, running partners, feedback loops, leadership practice, guiding others and being supporting by others.

And that’s the funny twist in becoming an Independent Learner. You begin to understand how important others are in your journey.

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