How to Teach Middle-schoolers to Work Independently

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Students spend a lot of time experiencing classroom education by the time they reach college. Most of what they have learned is forgotten by then. Moreover, many students are unable to apply effective learning strategies in their college tenure. Therefore, it is important to inculcate the habit of self-learning in students. This can be done by starting at an early age. It’s relatively easy to teach middle-schoolers to work independently. By getting into the habit of self-learning, students will excel in any of the future endeavors that they undertake. In this article, we have compiled some ways by which you can encourage middle-schoolers to work independently.


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Motivation is the key to success in any activity whether it be sports or education. Encouraging students to be passionate about learning will give them the motivation to study harder, as stated by Motivating middle-school students in a virtual setup is a challenging task. You will have to pay attention to each student individually. Set one-on-one sessions with students to address their doubts and queries. Use these sessions to give constructive feedback so that the students don’t feel isolated. During the online class, you can ask students to describe a concept after they have learned something new from multiple sources. In short, help your students in achieving their learning goals.

Turn your classroom into a workshop

To increase student engagement in the class, you can ask students to define their own projects or problems that they want to solve. Once the problems are defined, give them enough time and space to work on those. Give them a free hand to search for resource materials in the digital domain that would help them in completing the projects. You can even ask your students to create groups of 2 to 3 students for project work. By giving them the freedom to work, you are indirectly encouraging them to research independently. This would then become a fun activity for students, and they will get motivated to study themselves.

Individual connections

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In an online learning setup, you won’t be physically interacting with your students. All the teaching, communication, and assessment will happen through the digital domain. Thus, to make your students feel valued, you will have to create an individual connection with each one of them. If the student feels isolated, their engagement in the class will reduce and they won’t feel motivated to study at all. Creating a culture of trust is your best bet to keep your students motivated and excited about learning. Have one-on-one sessions, send them emails, and share direct feedback with your students to make them feel connected with the class. You can get in touch with Etutorworld for their online learning services

Coach your students

A learning plan is important to keep students excited and motivated for learning. Every student has a different learning curve, thus it is important to focus on all the students. You must help your students in creating a learning plan that is realistic yet challenging. Help them in identifying their strengths so that a comprehensive learning plan can be created. Teach them how to structure their independent learning time. For example, they should sit in a comfortable place during study time, take small breaks frequently to improve focus, and utilize different locations for learning. Encourage them to become self-disciplined learners and manage their study time by limiting time-wasting distractions. Moreover, teach them the art of learning from their mistakes and moving on rather than wasting time on them.

Practical teaching approach

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In online education, you will only have access to certain digital tools for teaching the class. Since you have limited access to support tools, you must use them efficiently to enhance student interaction. Tools like videos, online games, additional resource websites, etc. are good options to excite students to spend some self-learning time. Share all these details before starting the online course so that your students get time to do their own research. All these tools are fun to use and will definitely encourage students to spend additional time exploring the subject being taught.

Let students take a few classes

The best way to encourage your students to practice self-learning is by handing them the teaching baton. Let them pick a concept, write discussion points, and then lead the discussion in the class for the first few minutes. In doing so, they will have to research the concept and prepare for taking the class. Since it’s a fun activity, they will enjoy doing it and at the same time get into the habit of working independently.

Teach students to self to assess

Self-assessment is important for students to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. You can ask your students to summarize their learnings and any challenges they faced in completing an assignment or project. Students will get the opportunity to reflect on their problem-solving approach. Moreover, students also get a chance to learn from other students as well. Different viewpoints and perspectives will encourage them to notice changes and excite them to learn more about different topics. Thus, they will try spending additional time on learning to figure out these changes for a better understanding.

Encourage Brainstorming

Encourage students to write down their ideas, doubts, and queries during the class. Assign the last few minutes to discuss your student’s inputs and thoughts in a brainstorming session. This will increase student engagement and motivate them to learn more about the topic. The more you promote such an open culture in your class, the more amazing the discussions will become.

Reward initiative

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For students to work independently, you will have to encourage them to become active learners. Assessing students based on assignments and tests all the time isn’t the right approach. Give rewards in terms of extra credit for students who are actively participating in the class. You can also do a healthy competition about who amongst your students wins the maximum rewards. This will encourage all the students to spend some self-learning time to win brownie points.


By encouraging students to work independently doesn’t mean that you have to leave them alone to study. Introduce self-learning as a powerful tool that will help your students cope up with studies in a distance learning environment.