About The Thrivapy Blog


I created The Thrivapy Blog to share my thoughts and ideas about living a learning lifestyle.

For more, visit my website: www.thrivapy.com
Thank You,
Dr. Troy P. Roddy

Friday, December 13, 2013

Autonomy vs. Being Left Alone

There is an important difference between having autonomy and being left alone. That difference could make a significant impact on teaching and learning. The difference, as I see it, is based on purpose.

With autonomy, one applies focus and effort towards an objective that leads to the advancement of a defined purpose. One's effort and focus can be used as part of a group or on an individual project. Either way, having a purpose and providing the independence to advance that purpose is what creates autonomy. The purpose for the work (and thus the one making the effort) is a significant foundation in the connection between teacher/student and student/student.

Being left alone is different. There is only the work of a lone individual. Connection and communication  are either cut off or, at best, made out of courtesy. If one really wants to be left alone, the purpose is the request. It is also simple to measure. Either you have company or you do not. What you do when left alone is not important because there is no purpose to advance, information to share, or knowledge to create.

I am not saying that having time alone is a bad thing. Certainly, many of us (myself included) need time alone to reflect on our work and recharge our batteries. However, if you have a student or teacher who says they want to be alone to do their work, is it really the solitude they seek or are they actually looking for autonomy?

The answer may be found if you ask, "Why?"