Becoming A Self-Directed Learner – Part 2: Self-Empowerment.

by Patrick Liew on January 26, 2014

The second step to becoming a self-directed learner is to develop self-empowerment.

Our Creator has designed your children to have a tremendous amount of potential. They have a huge reservoir of creativity, talent and energy to explore different possibilities to achieve success.

I believe it was Glen Doman, best-selling author of a series of child-development books who said that all children are born to be a genius. The problem is we tend to “de-geniused” them.

Our job is to empower them to develop self-empowerment. The way to do it is by helping them to develop a framework and tools to empower themselves.

For example, they must know how to develop a learning plan and implement strategies to turn the plan into a reality.

In other words, they need to know where they are (situation), where do they want to get to (goal), and how to get there (strategy and action plan).

Through it all, they must find learning to be fun, exciting and fulfilling. It is an important FUNdamental to improving learning performance and results.

In other words, please do not stress your children unnecessarily. Help them enjoy the learning process and find joy and meaning in it.

There are four basic steps to developing self-empowerment.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that empowerment begins with helping your children to know themselves.

As parents, we need to help them accept but not be resigned to their weaknesses. They should be grateful and thankful for their strengths and be able to leverage on them to achieve learning success.

Self-directed learners are mindful of their situation. They are constantly monitoring and evaluating their experiences. They journal their thoughts and feelings about daily lessons.

More importantly, they craft and change their views on how to improve themselves.

Observing performance and reflecting about it is an important tool to improve standards and outcomes.

This tool is commonly used by top performers in different disciplines.

Dancers look at themselves in the mirror. Athletes record their performance and evaluate themselves.

Good writers review their work. Scientists repeat their experiment and take notes of the outcomes.

The underlying principle is that your children cannot progress without a sense of mindfulness. They must learn to be truthful to themselves.

I’m sure you’ve met people who struggle with their life and they don’t know and won’t accept that they are struggling because of their weaknesses.

Psychologists call it “self denial.” They either overestimate or underestimate themselves.

Sometimes, they can also become overly-conscious with themselves. This is a negative trait that will impede the progress of a self-directed learner.

For example, there are children who say to themselves, “I’m too good for everybody.” On the other end of the polarity, there are children who lament, “I can never make it.”

Another issue is that many children justify their shortcoming. Sometimes, they give excuses and even blame others for it.

Secondly, you need to help your children to plan for their learning journey and set goals for every milestone along the journey.

This is to help them keep track of themselves and ensure they are moving in the right direction.

For example, if they want to learn about how to bake a cake. They need to look for someone to teach them. Then, they need to buy a good book about baking to further their study.

They need to purchase the right equipment and ingredient. Finally, they need to start with baking a simple cake and gradually move to baking something more complicated.

For every milestone, you need to help your children to develop the right
strategies, tactics, and action plan to achieve it.

Thirdly, they need to take action to execute the plan. At the same time, they need to evaluate their action, monitor their progress, and change accordingly.

For example, they may need to change their learning goal or strategies to achieve the desired aspiration.

They have to ensure that they do not revert to their former strategies and behavior especially because they are familiar with them. Some of these behaviors could have been so ingrained in their life that they have become a habit.

In the process of improving themselves, there may be new issues and problems. Your children needs to resolve them and incorporate lessons from them into the ever-improving action plan.

Last but not least, help your children to monitor performance and learning outcomes.

If possible, track and measure the progress.

Measurement is the litmus test for achievement and results.

If they have not achieved the desired outcomes or wish to change any part of their learning journey, they need to go through the above four steps again.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”

Planning should be an itinerative process and be subjected to ongoing improvements.

With evaluation of current performance, goal setting, effective implementation, monitoring of outcomes, and improvement of the learning plan, your children will gradually be moulded and shaped 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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