OMNI adventures are projects that students select to do from their own interests within a theme. The underpinning goal of these adventures is to build self direction and self efficacy in students by combining their skill building with their own passions. ALL students at BIS are involved in this incredible learning experience in two different multi-age groupings:
- Dolphins, Penguins (assigned to one skill area for deep investigation)
- Kestrels & Big Cats (introduced to all four skill areas)
From the early progressive school movement in the 19th century through to radical thinkers like Dewey to Carl Rogers and William Glasser, the idea of self education directed by an engaged learner who feels passion and enthusiasm for learning has consistently been hailed as the ultimate goal in education. At BIS we base our model around the work of Rodney Skager, a UNESCO researcher, who wrote a range of seminal research papers in the 1980s about the importance of SDL. In his book “Organising Schools to Encourage Self Direction in Learners” he stated that whole school change was an imperative to creating SDL.
His research showed that only a very rare type of learner, the introspective extrovert, was capable of demonstrating the necessary skill set to actively engage in Self Direction: every other type of learner needed to be explicitly taught. Furthermore, schools needed to change in order to increase the opportunities for students to control their own learning through new experiences, a chance to question, to be autonomous, to reflect on their own learning and to search for answers. Later research by authors such as Westwood (1997) and Van Deur and Murray-Harvey (2005) have continued in the same vein as Skager. Decades of research have confirmed that self directed learning must be explicitly taught and requires time for depth of learning and reflection. In response to this we have developed our own continuum that tracks the development of Self Direction across 7 Characteristics identified by Skager.
7 clear characteristics of Self Directed Learning
- Planfulness – the ability to use understanding of time and space to organise
- Autonomy – self awareness of need and personal power, mediated by community
- Internalised Evaluations – combines an ability to take feedback with an awareness of external requirements for a task to balance both
- Openness to Experience – willingness to try new places, experiences and meet people
- Intrinsic Motivation – awareness of what one truly feels passion for
- Self Acceptance – awareness of learning needs and strengths and weaknesses
- Flexibility – willingness to be open to new ideas or ways of solving a problem