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Self-Directed Learning at SIG

by Ashley Jossick
At Summer Institute for the Gifted, we provide gifted and talented students with a flexible curriculum to stimulate their intellectual curiosity. through self-directed learning

Self-directed learning gives gifted students an active role and responsibility in their education. At the Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), we provide gifted and talented students with a flexible curriculum to stimulate their intellectual curiosity. We encourage students to pursue topics of interest to them.

At SIG, students are encouraged to explore their interests and the inquisitiveness of gifted students is nurtured. Self-directed learning motivates students to pursue their interests further. Students gain independence, confidence, and the tools needed to fuel a lifetime passion for learning, all important lifetime skills for gifted and talented young people.

Through a multi-disciplinary curriculum spanning all areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) plus Humanities and Fitness, students are exposed to a variety of intriguing subjects that are not thoroughly explored in most traditional schools.

When faced with open-ended problems in SIG classes, students have the flexibility to explore their interests while gaining exposure to new topics. Due to our small classes, low teacher-student ratio, and teaching assistants, we are able to individualize the program for each and every student.

SIG Academic Dean on Self-Directed Learning

“One of the things that rejuvenates teachers at SIG – or, at least, this teacher – is the opportunity to start saying ‘yes’ to all sorts of ideas that, during the school year, we might be asked to shut down. Though our hearts want to say ‘yes’ to the student, who, in Biochemistry, wants to know the chemical compounds that trigger certain mental states, our curriculum often says ‘no’. Or, perhaps, our ‘no’ is a product of timing: that, while it would be great to discuss the technological advances to espionage in World War II, there’s a state-mandated test, and that tangent isn’t on it. There’s no way to kill a passion for a topic more than to tell a student that the things they value don’t matter.

So, how refreshing it is to find a space where, by its very design, caters to the divergent, the tangential, and the student-driven. How special to find a place where instructors are willing to value student voice and equip them to authentically achieve their goals.

Validating those interests might be the spark that fuels them to keep growing and exploring – and what drives them to take that knowledge even further.”

-Sam, Academic Dean, SIG at Princeton University 2019

Parent Testimonials

“My son enjoyed SIG so much. He loves that he could learn quite a bit of material in such a short period of time. He enjoyed the fact the he could go at his own pace.”

-SIG Parent, 2019

“As an educator, I watched enthusiastically as the students advocated for their own learning and environment of empowerment and growth and development during closing ceremonies. It was evident that these children, my son included, were encouraged completely explore their potential.”

-SIG Parent, 2018

“SIG offers an opportunity for a child to find their purpose and soar.”

-SIG Parent, 2018

More on Self-Directed Learning

Stay tuned for more details on self-directed learning at SIG after the new year! In the meantime, learn more about SIG’s approach to teaching below.

Self-directed learning at Summer Institute for the Gifted helps fuel a lifelong passion for learning.

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