Developing Student Independence Skills in the Classroom Setting
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Children spend their most formative years in the classroom. There is no doubt that much of their development - academic, social, and cognitive- happens in, and depends on, the classroom environment. While the typical focus of the classroom is academic, emphasizing skills such as reading comprehension and arithmetic, the classroom can also be instrumental in introducing students to nonacademic skills that are crucial to socialization outside the context of school. Students learn behaviors by simply being in the classroom; they watch their teachers handle stress, see the ways peers influence and interact with one another, and take part in building a classroom community. While this implicit learning is certainly beneficial, without explicitly incorporating these psychological or life skills into school curriculums, the classroom is not reaching its full potential. Strategies for developing these independence skills can be more formally embedded in the curriculum and culture of classrooms in order to more completely prepare students for life outside of school. This paper will explore the importance of three independence skills: intrinsic motivation, a growth mindset, and grit. After defining these skills and explaining their significance in the world outside of school, strategies for classroom implementation will be discussed, as well as future research suggestions.