6 Strategies for Promoting Student Autonomy

Students in flexible classrooms must be self-sufficient. Teachers require the remainder of the class to be self-sufficient if they wish to spend as much time as possible working with individuals and small groups.

Unfortunately, as instructors well know, children of all ages are prone to relying on adults for assistance. Teachers can equip students with the skills and knowledge to be their own best assistants rather than removing tasks that demand autonomy from the classroom.

Do you want to know about it? If yes, then read it carefully. 

What do you know about autonomy as a student? 

As a student, being autonomous means being able to control one’s freedom in the classroom freely. Students who have autonomy must be able to think independently, speak with authority, and use any freedom they have in the classroom constructively. Because their educational circumstances support the development of these skills, students who study autonomously are more skilled in critical thinking and problem-solving than their non-autonomous classmates.

Autonomy refers to a person’s ability to act of their own free will. When a youngster has control over his environment, even in little ways, he gains confidence, self-esteem, and independence. For all children, autonomy is an important aspect of learning.

Explain the strategies that promote students’ autonomy 

So guys, do you want to know about those strategies that enhance students’ autonomy? Of course yes, then read down the below points for better understanding: 

  1. 1-2-3 Then there’s me: This method requires students to rely on their own and their classmates’ comprehension of a task first. Allow students one minute to silently review the directions, two minutes to debate the directions with their classmates, and three minutes to prepare their approach to the work. Then and only then may they beg for help. Alternatively, instead of or before pupils read the directions silently or in pairs, give a one-minute explanation of the directions to the entire class.
  1. Recorded Directions and Responses: These are simple but effective aids, especially for kids who are still developing their reading and writing skills. Record yourself providing directions using the voice memo feature on your cell phone. (For added fun, employ an accent or a character voice.) Students can rewind the directions as needed to listen to problematic spots or to hear your explanation once more. Place the device at the job completion station or center, or upload the file to a class website or app like Seesaw. Students can also film themselves or a peer reading or clarifying directions aloud and listen to it afterward. 

When students may record their reaction to a task or their skill performance, they gain independence in task completion. This eliminates the need for the student to wait for an audience and allows the teacher to focus on a one-on-one or small group instruction. Responses from younger children can be played back directly from the devices. Students in higher grades can upload their responses to a special website or folder.

  1. Resource files: When the teacher isn’t available, there are also the Resource Files. These files contain troubleshooting instructions for procedures and tools that students use frequently. For example, how to deal with a frozen iPad screen or how to break through writer’s block. Extra graphic organizers, peer editing methods, and rubrics can all be found in resource files. Physical files should be kept in a prominent location in the room, while digital files should be kept in a clearly labeled, easy-to-access location on the computer.
  1. Hint Cards: these are similar to resource files, except they are specific to each course. For example, the teacher in this video has foreseen potential problems with the math tasks students are working on. Her tip cards provide probing questions that she would ask students if they were stumped, and they review the cards before approaching her. Students absorb the questions as well as the procedure for getting unstuck over time.
  1. Colored Cups: This self-monitoring and signaling method improves students’ ability to determine when and if they require teacher assistance. A stack of three colored cups is given to each group (or individual) (ideally, green, yellow, and red to mimic traffic lights). The teacher tells the student to show the cup that corresponds to how they’re working:
  • Green cup at the top.
  • Yellow cup at the top.
  • Red cup on top.                  
  1. Question Chips: These aid students in determining if their task-related queries are “must ask the teacher” or “could figure out on my own.” For the duration of the class time or longer, each student or group receives a restricted number of question chips (e.g., pennies, paper squares, or game chips). These numbers show the number of times students can seek assistance from the teacher. Students are less inclined to raise their hands and summon the teacher for simple queries if they just have a few chips. The purpose of question chips isn’t to stifle inquiry or dissuade students from pursuing answers; rather, it’s to encourage them to ask themselves, “What am I looking for?”


In this article, you come to know that these tactics must be taught and modeled to be effective. Introduce them as needed, and use the ones that are appropriate for your subject, students, and writing style. Students will not become self-sufficient overnight, but with practice and patience, they can all learn to help themselves. The article will be useful for you all. 

Carter Martin

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