We are all too familiar with the assessment criteria that teachers often show us at the start of every new subject. This puts our focus on “What do I have to produce for the teacher to excel in this subject?” However, when we obsess over rigid assessment criteria instead of the content of our studies, a fixed mindset is formed over time. Such a mindset clamps down on creativity and suppresses one’s individuality. The joy of learning is lost and short-term product goals become the focus. Instead, the better question to ask ourselves is “What can I learn from this?” Taking ownership of our own learning sets us up for long-term success and an enjoyment of the process, defined by a growth in skills and experience.
In order to do so, there is a need to shift our mindset from focusing on product to focusing on our learning process. Let us take a look at what are the differences between focusing on product and focusing on process in our learning:
When we view learning as a product, we simply follow the instructions of our teachers. This is because we believe that our teachers have the best intention for us. We complete the worksheets given to us and attend supplementary classes after school. Often, we focus on excelling in such activities as we believe that doing them well will give us the grades we desire. As a result, most students think that they simply need to comply with the instructions of their teachers and they will do well in their studies. Students who view learning as a product often do not seek other studying methods which could be more beneficial for them. This prevents them from learning more efficiently.
However, when we view learning as a process, we find learning to be much more meaningful. Every student learns differently and takes different amount of time to understand the content they are studying. Simply following the instructions set by teachers can do more harm than good, especially for slower learners as they are unable to catch up. Hence, by viewing learning as a process, we learn to take ownership and pace our own learning instead of following what teachers expect of us. Our learning becomes more flexible, allowing us to appreciate what we learned. Therefore, focusing on process sets us on a path of purposeful learning.
At EduPivot, we firmly believe that solely focusing on product will not benefit students in the long run. Instead, students should be encouraged to focus more on their learning process. Here are some ways we can shift our focus from product to process goals:
Set Your Own Goals
Instead of setting an end goal, start by breaking your learning process down into smaller sections and have smaller goals along the way as checkpoints. This helps to keep yourself in check and take more ownership of your own learning. Such checkpoints allow you to conduct self-evaluation and make changes to better accommodate your study style, which is known to improve independence and self-reliance.
Open Discussions With Your Teachers
An effective learning process is two-way. It should be from the teacher to the student, and vice versa. To facilitate two-way learning, make open discussions part of the routine. Approach your teachers and run them through your process. Let your teachers facilitate your learning by asking them for constructive feedback. For example, when attempting a Math question, you realise that the method you used is different as compared to your peers. Instead of changing your method, seek feedback from your teacher. They would be able to advise you on a more suitable method that is less time consuming; or correct you when mistakes are made.
Additionally, grades can also be part of the discussion, but only as an assessment of progress. However, the focus should not be on your grades, but on your learning journey and spaces for improvement.
Therefore, having open discussions with your teachers increases your investment and sense of pride in your own learning.
Set Expectations For Yourself
When starting a new subject, take the time to set your own expectations that are separated from the teacher’s. Think about what you are hoping to learn and aiming to achieve from the subject instead of just what the teacher wants you to! For example, before your teacher starts teaching a new topic, take the time to flip through your textbook and read up on that topic. You can also start attempting sample questions from assessment books or past year papers instead of waiting for your teacher to assign assignments. Setting expectations for your own learning ensures that you understand what you are learning and that you find purpose in it. Self-initiated learning has been proven to have more long-lasting effects. Doing so will greatly enhance your learning and make you more engaged in the process.
Many teachers are starting to let go of expectations of certain products that should be produced by the students themselves. This is to ensure that students can be more liable for their learning. Students are encouraged to focus on how to learn instead of what to learn. Therefore, for a more productive and efficient learning, start focusing on your learning process instead of the end product!
If you are still unsure of how to take more ownership of your learning, feel free to reach out to us! Alternatively, check out our InspireTeens program where professionals will be there to guide you to grow!