Student-centered Teaching

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“I never teach my students.  I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” 

Einstein

Rather than assuming total control of your learning space, today’s tide is shifting to include a louder student voice inside the classroom.  Weimer shares five characteristics of learner-centered teaching in which she advises to first engage students in the hard and messy work of learning.  Students should be the ones asking questions, detailing answers, offering examples, organizing content, and presenting review material.  Explicit instruction ought be presented which teaches students how to think, solve problems, evaluate evidence, analyze arguments, and generate hypotheses, all tools essential for mastering material within a discipline.

In addition, student-centered learning encourages students to reflect upon the what and how of learning.  Assignments require students to reflect, analyze, and critique learning while talking much about the learning process. Learners are motivated by receiving control over learning processes and it’ll be your honor to select ethically responsible ways of sharing power.  Finally, student-centered learning encourages collaboration among students giving individuals the opportunity to learn from one another as members share commitment to learning (Weimer, 2012).

 Target your students with one of these student-centered teaching strategies which include Think-pair-share, 3-2-1,  alphabet brainstorm, and four corners, just to name a few.

Or meet your students where they are by utilizing the flipped classroom model, although you’ll want to make sure your students have internet access for this one!

What have you found to be successful in cultivating a learner-centered environment?  I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Weimer, M. (2012). Five characteristics of learner-centered teaching. Retrieved 2016, from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/five-characteristics-of-learner-centered-teaching/
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