In chapter 12 of your text there is a discussion of learning environments that are teacher-centered and those that are student-centered.
(a) After reading that section explain what you think is the best approach and what specific strategies you use do as a teacher to create that “best” learning environment.
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(b) What are some examples of ways you do/could use teacher-centered approaches?
(c) What are some examples or student-centered learning strategies you have or could use.
Please include at least 3 paragraphs and respond to 2 peers.
Peer reply needed for discussion 1 J
Week 6 Discussion
Traditionally, the presentation of information in school has been teacher-centered. This approach can be varied in the techniques and strategies used, but as a rule a teacher-centered approach involves lecture with teacher lead questioning followed by skills practice. There is a large variety of possible lecturing techniques available within this approach. The questioning used by the educator, as well as the skills practice, also have many options. The common component of the teacher-centered approach is that the teacher is the clear leader and the students follow the lead.
Within the past 20 years or so the teacher-centered approach has been questioned and many classrooms have moved to a more student-centered approach. This approach, also called constructivism, involves the students creating their own understanding of knowledge. A student-centered approach allows for a wide variety of lessons and activities such as discovery learning, inquiry methods, and cooperative learning. Lately, a student-centered approach relies heavily on the use of personal learning devices and expects students to learn and progress at their own pace. The teacher is integral in creating a variety of meaningful and student-centered lessons, but the student has a significant role in the acquisition of knowledge.
Personally, I feel a combined approach is more effective. I am most comfortable and capable in a teacher-centered lecture format involving active questioning and skills practice. I believe this approach is especially needed in primary and middle grades. I think students need to learn how to become learners through guided practice. I believe the teacher-centered approach does offer many opportunities for activities where the students have options as well as opportunities for group or cooperative moments. The teacher-centered approach does not need to solely be what is considered the tradition style of lecture and classwork.
I have been in a district for the past 15 years that has pushed the curriculum towards a student-centered approach. In Science and Mathematics students complete lessons and units on Chromebooks. The students work at their own pace with check-in assessments and rough timelines for completion. Assignments are not graded, and students have the opportunity to complete assessments several times until mastery is demonstrated. The teacher is a guide or facilitator. This approach does work well for some students, but many students do not learn well with this model. Those who do are typically highly motivated, able to focus easily, and able to independently access and complete the lessons effectively. I have witnessed some teachers realizing that this individualizing learning is not best for all students. I have started seeing lessons where the teacher begins with a more traditional teacher-centered approach, and then using the Chromebooks to supplement the information and to offer possible extension activities. I think this is an approach that I would be likely to use in a classroom.
I do not think either approach is the best. I think a combination that offers teacher-centered presentation of information and questioning, coupled with varied opportunities for skill practice is most effective. This approach allows for varied learning styles and will meet the needs of more students.
Peer reply needed for discussion 2
I definitely don’t think that one approach is necessarily “better” than the other. For years, the more traditional method was of course the teacher centered approach but recently, the modern classroom allows for students and teacher to share the same focus, implementing more collaboration, open communication and group work. However, as well all know, every student is different and they all learn best in their own way. Some students may thrive in groups as others may need that one on one teacher centered method. I feel as though both approaches are beneficial in the classroom.
When utilizing either approach, there are going to be pros and cons. With teacher-centered learning, I feel as though the classroom is much more structured. I think that in order to help students develop structure and maintain classroom management, you still need to have lessons that are teacher centered so the students don’t have, what they may see as, “total control” at all times. I think teacher centered approach is good for reading. The teacher reads a book and the students listen. I always got some much more out of a book when someone else read it rather than taking turns with other students reading out loud because I was able to sit back and focus better on what was being read rather than worrying about who was reading next or when my turn was. I also think that the teacher centered approach is important to use to measure your students’ individual progress. With constant student-centered learning you may not see when a certain student is be falling behind or struggling.
There are more pros as to cons when it comes to the student centered approach but as I mentioned before, it is still important to implement both. Student centered learning is a great for student development. Students are learning the material as well as learning how to communicate and collaborate well with others which is great for building social skills. As a future school counselor I will have a lot of one on one meetings but I will also have many group meetings where the student centered approach is vital. Students interacting with one another and sharing their feelings and emotions is a great way for students to learn from each other and build each other up. I love the concept of “centers” that school counselors use. Each month there is a certain topic that students work on, whether it be building self-confidence, dealing with anxiety, or how not to be a bully. Group activities are laid out around the room and each group will have so much time at each center. The groups will work together to complete the activity with open communication and team work rather than just sitting and listening to a lesson about the given topic.
Overall, I strongly believe that both approaches are needed in the classroom in order for every student to learn to their full potential.