Observations from a Self-Directed Learning Center

by Catherine Shannon

In my role as Executive Director of Beacon, I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about self-directed learning and how the environment can be such a powerful teacher. Here are some key points I keep coming back to:

TIME: Pause. Life is not a race. Discovery requires time. 

MEANING: Youth learn from what they find meaningful. Purpose and motivation follow.

ENVIRONMENT: A non-coercive, supportive environment promotes growth and well-being.

CONNECTION: Young people need respectful, caring adults to mentor, question, and celebrate them. They thrive with peers who aren't competitors.

AUTHENTICITY: The individual, and where they are now, is the starting point.   

SIMPLICITY: Reduce distractions and eliminate the unnecessary. A very simple change can make all the difference.