Freedom is an all-encompassing word that has plenty of definitions, but for this blog post, I will be focusing on the definition that means “liberty from arbitrary or despotic control.” It’s not just about letting kids do whatever they want either–it’s about giving them choices and encouraging their independence so they take ownership over what they learn.
What exactly does it mean to give children freedom in the classroom? The goal should be to encourage students to use their creativity and develop their natural curiosity instead of passively waiting for someone else to tell them what to think or do. So here are some ways you can set your classroom up for success with this approach:
Why is freedom necessary for effective learning?
Freedom for students is necessary for effective learning of students for many reasons and there are ten included here:
1. Freedom to think and voice preferences:
Students need the freedom to share their thoughts about what they like and don’t like, plus the freedom to speak up when something isn’t working well or preferences aren’t being met. If a class doesn’t give students the freedom to express their thoughts and preferences, then they won’t be able to do what’s best for them.
2. Choice of work:
If students are expected to complete certain tasks without choice, then the tasks may become uninteresting or fall below the level of the student’s skill set. The more freedom you give students when assigning their own work, the more likely they are to find something that is rewarding and meaningful for them.
3. Freedom of movement:
Sometimes students need to move around during class to stay focused, remain calm, or prevent themselves from acting out inappropriately. If students aren’t allowed freedom of movement, then they may become restless, begin misbehaving or become distracted more easily.
4. Freedom to focus on topics of choice:
Students need the freedom to learn about what is interesting for them, rather than being forced to research or complete tasks which are outside their interests or skill sets. Imagine you had only one hour each week to play video games – wouldn’t it be frustrating if that time were taken up with something you didn’t really want to do?
5. Freedom from bullying:
Sometimes students are bullied or harassed by other students. If they aren’t able to leave the situation, they won’t be able to learn effectively. Even if a teacher is supervising class, sometimes students bully each other when they feel safe, such as during independent work time, or when the teacher must help another student.
6. Freedom to think out loud:
When students are asked to solve problems or come up with creative ideas of their own, they need the freedom to express themselves even if they make mistakes. Students need the space to experiment without fear of being ridiculed by others. If you had a problem and needed to solve it, wouldn’t you want the freedom and encouragement to think out loud and express your ideas?
7. Freedom from overwhelming work:
If students are overwhelmed with tasks or assignments, then they may become stressed and frustrated. Even if a task isn’t that difficult for them, they won’t be able to focus on learning effectively when they are overwhelmed. If you were asked to do something which wasn’t that difficult, but was simply too much or too long for you to complete in one night, wouldn’t you want the freedom to prioritize and balance your workload?
8. Freedom to make mistakes:
Students need the freedom to experiment with new skills without fearing they will be ridiculed by teachers or peers if they make a mistake. If students are afraid of making mistakes when learning new skills, then they won’t feel like they can do their best work until after they’ve become comfortable with the skill. How do you think it would affect your learning performance if every time you made a mistake, your teacher yelled at you?
9. Freedom to ask for help:
If students don’t feel like they can come to teachers when they’re stuck on something, then learning won’t be effective because the students won’t get the guidance and support that is necessary for them to learn. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s simply what all learners need to do to learn effectively.
10. Freedom from over-testing:
When students feel that they are being tested too much or too frequently, then this takes away from the time that should be used for learning and practicing new skills – which makes learning less effective because it’s difficult to recall everything a student has been tested on using rote memory. If students were frequently tested on the material, then they would need to spend time reviewing that information rather than learning new things, making it difficult for them to learn effectively.
How does freedom of students affect classroom management?
In this article, I will give a list of ten ways that giving students freedom impacts the classroom management efforts of teachers.
1. They feel less stressed and more confident.
2. Students have a deeper interest in their work – they enjoy it much more!
3. There is a positive correlation between academic achievement and time spent in the classroom.
4. Students feel more respected and treated with kindness, allowing them to be kinder in return.
5. There is less need for discipline because they are engaged in their own learning process.
6. Children learn how to regulate themselves rather than having the teacher constantly regulate them.
7. The teacher has more time to focus on the students who need extra help.
8. There is an increased likelihood of children becoming leaders in their community and society as a whole.
9. Teachers can take part in individual discussions with each student throughout projects or lessons, not just at the beginning and end.
10. The teacher will have more time in the afternoon to prepare for their next day of teaching.
These are only a few of the benefits that come from giving students freedom when it comes to classroom management.
How can you use freedom for effective classroom management?
Freedom is a wonderful thing, and with it, we can achieve good classroom management. We’ll make a list of 19 guidelines to follow that will help you use freedom as an effective tool in your classroom.
The people who need the most instruction often don’t ask for it. Respect their desire to learn and do not force your opinions on them; simply present them with the facts.
Teaching may be seen by you as a way to send out your own philosophy, but remember that their classroom is not like a confessional booth; the students do not need to accept what you think is absolute truth.
If you want to order in your classroom, make rules; tell them how things will be done. Try as much as possible to get their opinions on the rules to be made to guide them. That gives them freedom of choice and gets them to be responsible for what they have helped create.
You must be careful with rules, however; do not go overboard and completely restrict your students’ freedom or critical thinking. For example, if they are allowed to speak only when spoken to, you will greatly limit the interaction of the group as a whole.
Individuals within the group should still have their own freedom of speech, but without disrupting the class.
1. Always give students credit when they are due, but do not praise them for simply doing what is expected of them.
2. Talking in turns is something that all students should know how to do before they arrive at school; if your school uses lines, then you must work with this routine. Teach your students how to express their freedom of voice by modeling how to speak in turns.
3. Your students should know that you respect and trust them enough to give them their voice and allow them the freedom of expression.
4. They are your most valuable resource, so use them as such.
5. Do you want good behavior? You have to be the example. If you only punish others upon catching them red-handed, then they will not take it seriously. Prove to your students that good behavior is important with your actions, not just words.
6. Rules are necessary, but they must be reasonable and promote freedom; if the students feel like they are being unfairly punished, then their freedoms will become more limited instead of free.
7. You must know when to lay down rules and when to relax them; there is a time and a place for everything.
8. Not every student will be the same; some respond better to bright colors and flashy posters, while others like fewer distractions. Be sure to include everyone in your classroom.
9. When your students know that you will back them up if they stand up for themselves against bullying or unfairness, then it is likely that bullies will not roam the classroom.
10. Rules are needed, but it is important to realize that they are a safety net and not a straightjacket.
11. When you give students responsibility for their own actions, they will learn quickly to take ownership of the way they behave. It is empowering.
12. Always be honest with your students; if you expect them to trust each other, then you must be able to trust them as well.
13. Honesty, positive reinforcement, and responsibility should all go hand in hand; if you want your students to be honest then you must accept that sometimes honesty will hurt.
14. It is not enough for a person to simply know the rules; they must understand and desire to follow them as well.
15. Good behavior doesn’t come from fear of punishment; it comes from the desire to be a good, responsible member of society. Freedom promotes responsibility and good behavior.
16. Every student is different, but there are some universal tips that every teacher should follow to make their class an active learning environment.
17. Allow students to help you, especially through peer teaching. This gives students enough freedom to learn effectively.
18. Always remember why you are there in the first place.
You may have heard these tips before, but hopefully, they will remind you what works and why.
If students aren’t given freedom when learning, then their learning won’t be as effective because they won’t be able to do their best work or stay focused on the tasks at hand. Students also won’t have the confidence to try new things, ask for help when they’re stuck, accomplish tasks promptly, or worry about feeling overwhelmed with too many assignments.