SmileTutor Blog Tutors Tutoring Tips How to Encourage Your Student to Become an Independent Learner

How to Encourage Your Student to Become an Independent Learner

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As tutors, we strive to nurture our students to be independent learners so that they are able to stay ahead of the curve and are ready for future challenges.

But encouraging them to become active and adaptive thinkers can be difficult, especially if they lack motivation or have little interest in learning.

So I have compiled a few methods that you can use to encourage your students to become independent learners!

Don’t Give Them the Answers

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When you give your student the answer, not only do they miss out on the learning process, but they soon learn to be dependent on you for answers. This is why you should withhold the answers from your student and get them to explore different solutions independently.

But what do you do if they are stuck? Prompt them with open questions.

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For example, instead of telling them how to answer the question, you can ask them what method could be applied to a problem, or what concepts could be used. Under discussion over open-ended questions, students will be able to deeply understand the topics. It can also help you understand your student’s logic on how they formed their answers

Encourage Collaboration


“Two heads are better than one” stands true when you allow your students to collaborate with peers and friends.

When they work together as a group to solve questions and complete tasks, you encourage them to learn from each other and develop their own ideas. They also learn to look at different perspectives and share their opinions which would allow them to explore new ideas.

This way, they won’t always look for you for answers, and it develops their communication and teamwork skills too! However, do note that this is only possible in a group tuition setting.

Let Them Learn from Failure


Failure is the last thing we want our students to go through. It is demoralising, leaves a lousy record on their report books, and hinders their academic progress.

But your student will experience failure at least once in their life and so take this opportunity to let them learn from it. Let them reflect on how they can do better, what they did well, and what went wrong.

Show them that failure is part of the learning process and what matters is the learning journey and process.

Motivate Them to Learn


Motivating your student to learn can be tricky if they see no meaning in learning. Still, it is vital in making them become independent learners.

It helps them to gain an appreciation of the learning process. It makes them want to apply self-directed learning – which is needed in independent learning.

This prevents them from becoming independent learners. So here are a few ways you can motivate your student:
1. Make lessons engaging
2. Reward them for improvements
3. Encourage them
4. Give them feedback on how to improve
5. Allow them to have hands-on experiences during class

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Teach Them to Self-Assess


A crucial part of independent learning is for your student to self-assess and recognise improvements and changes, making them more aware of their progress.

It encourages them to reflect on their performances and how they can better learn concepts and skills. They also gain a better understanding of what is taught.

So how do you teach them to self-assess? Here’s how you do it:
1. Involve them in peer-assessment
2. Using self-assessment questions
3. Use lesson feedback surveys
4. Allow them to blog about their progress or their lessons (through social media like Twitter or Instagram)



When your student is an independent learner, they gain more self-confidence and have a greater sense of control over their learning. This benefits them in their development and in their academics.

I hope this article helps you understand the advantages of encouraging your student to become independent and how you can do that. Good luck!

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.