This is not the education many people are used to. SDE may also be known as unschooling, free learning, democratic education, alternative education, autodidacticism, etc. These names all refer to a way of learning that have the following characteristics:
Learners are trusted to be in control of their own education with little interference from adults.
There is no curriculum or set of objectives that learners are expected to learn or achieve, though learners may choose to follow a curriculum or design their own.
Authentic experiences are valued, and children are allowed to learn from the culture and environment they are immersed in.
Learners engage in meticulous and in-depth study of topics they choose, often at a higher level than learners for whom study is compulsory.
History of Self-Directed Education
Self-directed education has been the main method of passing culture on to the next generation for the majority of human history. SDE has been advocated for in response to formalized coercive education in the modern era. In the past few decades, SDE has gained more popularity and continues to grow as the preferred method of learning in cultures all over the world.
Research that supports SDE
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