15th Feb 2014





The #1 goal of education in Australia is to develop self-directed, life long learners. If you were to ask yourself everyday how YOU were going with developing self-directed, life long learners, what would be your response?

When children leave your class, school or family, how do you think you have fared in the success of this goal?


Everyone has an innate drive to fulfill their potential. Some people don’t know what their potential is but most come to understand through education that life has much to offer. As an educator and a consultant I am dedicated to helping individuals find within themselves their inner potential. Individuals can become self-directed, life long learners if we encourage them the right way. Unfortunately some give up on learning. They think less of themselves as learners because of bad memories, scared experiences and negative mentors. Educators come up against students who have unhealthy concepts about learning every day. 


Every individual, every class, every school, every workplace, every family wants to be self-correcting, self-managing, self-accountable and self-governing. Unfortunately in our schools and in our country we spend so much energy on monitoring and attempting to manage behavior that we lose sight of our innate desire to learn. If we are going to address the complex behavioural problems of the planet then we need educators, students and individuals to be internally driven learners.


Everyone needs help. The best help we can give anyone is FEEDBACK. One of the fastest ways to improve performance is to improve feedback. Parents, educators, peers, coaches and friends need to be skilled at giving sound, honest and timely feedback. Schools need to foster self-direction by offering alternative and authentic forms of assessment. Individuals build self-direction when they have been coached to work to criteria or specified outcomes and get regular feedback about the process.


Neuroscience indicates that the human brain reconstructs itself from experience. Individuals need to know how to work the brain and stay healthy on the inside.


How does a self-directed person behave?

·      They have the ability to self-manage by clarifying their purpose and planning a course of action using past knowledge.

·      They can self-monitor their concepts by engaging emotions and intellect to change their perception and behaviour.

·      They can self-modify by being able to reflect on experiences and make changes (reframe) to their thinking, values, goals, strategies and learning.


ELITE MINDS are self-directed. They have the ability to self-manage, self-monitor and self-modify in the following way;

·      Set goals / purpose

·      Make plans

·      Take Action / hard work

·      Get feedback. How am I doing?

·      Reflect / Find meaning

·      Make changes

·      Reframe / Start again.


FEEDBACK RULES (Adapted from Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway, Katie Yezzi)

  1. Practice using feedback. It is not enough just to hear feedback then do nothing with it. You must commit to taking action immediately. Build a culture of feedback then repeat practice.
  2. Try it first then reflect. Follow this procedure: Practice / feedback / re-practice / reflect. Don’t fall into the trap of reflecting and not doing something about the feedback.
  3. Short feedback loop. Giving instant feedback drives learning. Small, simple bits of information have high impact during re-practice.
  4. Focus on strengths. The human mind gets more from feedback about strengths than weaknesses. Use positive feedback to identify the skill, give another application for its use and then replicate the skill.
  5. Limit feedback amount. The mind can’t focus on too much data. Keep it short and keep it consistent. Discern who gives the feedback and how much feedback you get.
  6. Everyday. Consistent, everyday feedback is a must. Feedback is a skill. Don’t link feedback to negativity. It isn’t about mistakes. It’s positive and constructive.
  7. Solution not problem. Don’t describe the problem to people. Give simple, actionable and specific steps towards a solution. Don’t give feedback with don’t. Focus on success by being brief.
  8. Lock it in. Summarize, Prioritize, Repeat. Don’t assume the feedback has been understood and digested. Always confirm by getting a summary, prioritize the important points of feedback and identify the next step.



All good educators know students need new goals and skills for their survival in an ever changing and complex world.