Becoming A Self-Directed Learner – Part 1: Self-Motivation.

by Patrick Liew on January 26, 2014

As parents, you need to help your children to become a self-directed learner.

All learning revolves around self-learning.

As educator B. J. Zimmerman wisely puts it, “Learning is not something that happens TO students, it is something that happens BY children.”

There is not a single person that can help your children to learn and determine their success than themselves.

As they journey in life, they will go through difficult learning environment and other challenges.

They will have to take full responsibility to make the right decisions, overcome challenges, and achieve their goals.

To do that, they have to become a self-directed learner. While teachers and other people can help them, ultimately they will have to plan for and take control of their own learning destiny.

Unfortunately, our school does not have a curriculum that focuses on teaching our children how to develop a passion for learning and to learn how to learn.

In fact, some teachers can unwittingly kill the student’s joy for learning and improving themselves.

Some schools can also do the same damage through unhealthy test and homework, streaming, competition, focus on grades, punishment, social comparison, relationships, and environment.

They can become gatekeepers rather than gateways to a brighter future.

To ring fence your children from these potential risks, you need to help them cultivate a passion and motivation to learn.

This desire for the pursuit of knowledge should not be dependent on any person or condition upon being in the right class, environment or situation.

You need to share the good news with your children that self-motivation can be learned and developed. It can be controlled even when they don’t feel like doing anything and even under adverse conditions.

To be motivated, firstly, it is important to have goals.

Goal setting gives your children a sense of direction. It will also help them harness their energy and work towards achieving the goal.

Secondly, you need to teach your children how to develop a healthy self-esteem and a sense of hope and optimism.

They must build up a positive belief system by replacing negative self talk with positive affirmation.

They need to learn how to have a healthy conversation with themselves.

For example, instead of saying, ” It can’t be done,” they can ask, “How can it be done?”

Instead of saying “It’s hard,” they can ask, “How can I tackle it one step at a time?”

What they say to themselves will influence their attitude, psyche, emotion, and behavior.

Thirdly, they must learn to reject the negatives and reinforce the positives. They can do that by creating healthy gains or pain to motivate themselves to stick to their plan and progress in life.

Top performers in almost every field adopt a positive attitude and affirm themselves all the time. They reinforce their mindset by telling themselves, for example,  “I can do it,” “I’m going to beat it,” and “I’m grateful and happy for my achievement.”

Learning to pat themselves on the back and giving themselves a treat will help them to reinforce their positive behavior and turn it into a habit.

With goals, a healthy self esteem, empowering self-talk, and positive reinforcements, your children can lay the foundation to become a self-directed learner.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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