How to set up norms for independent learning

Simi Rai

Monday, 28 January 2019

A culture of independence in the classroom is what all teachers strive for.

Creating that culture, however, takes some time. Most pupils are accustomed to listening to their teachers and doing what they are told, so asking them to work independently requires some setting up.

First, you need to establish your rules (don’t assume that your pupils already know them) and then practice! This requires some work at the beginning of the year but pays off later as pupils become much more productive and independent, making your job a lot easier!

Make your expectations clear. First, explain the benefits of independent learning and then list your expectations.

Pupils need to understand that independent study mode is for just that: studying by themselves.


You can decide whether you will allow pupils to study with music (to help them focus) or use computers for research. Pupils should raise their hands for questions and refrain from speaking to one another unless it is about the work.

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About our Community Expert

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Simi Rai
Community Expert

Over 5 years of experience in educational settings throughout London, Madrid and Barcelona. Whilst studying English Literature and Language at King’s College London and the University of North Carolina, she fell in love with her subject - both the study of literature and craft of writing.

After graduating, she completed the Leadership Development Programme with Teach First, whose mission is to provide equality through education, and attained her PGCE in Secondary English at Canterbury Christ Church University. She was then appointed as Deputy Head of English at one of the highest performing schools in England in a London inner-city academy.

Following this, she completed her Leadership and Management MA at University College London (Institute of Education) and became the director of an English Language company based in Barcelona.

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