Learner Centered Approach places the learner at the center, or the student is responsible for learning. At the same time, the tutor is responsible for facilitating the learner. The curriculum is framed by keeping in mind all the aspects of the learner\’s life, be it mental, physical, social, emotional, or religious.
It\’s all about shifting the focus of instruction away from the teacher and toward the student. Instead of lecturing or pushing content towards the learner where they are just passive learners, the learner-centred approach encourages the adynamic relationship between the learner and the instructor. The participant takes ownership of the content, determines how useful or relevant to them, and builds the cognitive connections to allow the learning to be retained.
When a learner is flexible, he or she takes ownership of the content, decides how it will be useful or relevant to them, and establishes the cognitive connections necessary for the learning to stick. Learning becomes more meaningful to the participant when the learner, rather than the instructor, is the focus of the instruction.
This might include various examples of teaching methods like small group work, classroom discussion, projects, presentations, games, debates, role-plays, case studies, and simulations. A curriculum must be defined in terms of the student\’s educational needs. A curriculum must be defined in terms of students\’ psychological structure and educational experiences.
Learning is the most meaningful when a person learns through interaction with his environment. Learning should include different pedagogical methods to provide varied experiences with lifelong learning. The teacher acts as a facilitator who encourages a sense of autonomy among the learners and ensures fruitful learning. The learner is of utmost importance. That is why the diversity among the learners is attended to and respected. The learners themselves are responsible for what they choose.
WHY IS STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING PREFERRED?
This type of learning may take place at anytime and anywhere. The students are accountable, and the learning is personalized and is competency-based. In this type of learning, the students are respected and are given an edge.
CHARACTERISTICS OF LEARNER CENTERED APPROACH
- CHILD CENTERED: Everything included in this the curriculum revolves around the child-his need, capacity and attitude.
- FREEDOM: The student is free from the pressure of the teacher and parents. It allows the student or the child to be fre and develop in a natural environment.
- ACTIVITY CENTERED: It includes activities for children so that the child can remain active and learn on his own through experience.
- COOPERATION: It seeks the cooperation between society and school to satisfy the hunger of a child and work for their all-round development.
- NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: This allows him to grow in his own pace.
- TEACHER AS FACILITATION: The teacher only provides opportunities to the learner and act as a facilitator.
- INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES: It allows every child to develop according to their way.
- TOTALITY OF EXPERIENCES: The curriculum should provide all-round development of the student.
- Psychological: It caters to the needs of the child and plan the curriculum accounting to the mental level of the learner and focuses on the abilities, capacities, interests, the aptitude of the child.
- VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE: To satisfy the thirst for knowledge and needs of the child, they provide them variety of methods, strategies, and activities so that students can experience a variety of things.
TEACHER CENTERED EDUCATION:
In this, the students put all their focus on the teacher. Teachers talk, and the students exclusively listen. During activities, students work alone, and collaboration is discouraged. In this type, the students are quiet, and the teacher retains full control of the classroom and its activities. Because students learn in their own way, they learn independence and make their own decisions, which works as an advantage, whereas it can be boring. Their minds may wander, and they miss the important facts. Moreover, the instruction doesn\’t allow the students to express themselves, ask questions, and direct their learning. They also don\’t allow to collaborate, so their communication skills might suffer.
ADVANTAGES OF STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING
- Students learn important communicative and collaborative skills through group work. Students learn to direct their learning, ask questions, and complete tasks independently. As a result, students are more interested in one another and participate actively.
Because students are talking, classrooms may often be noisy or chaotic. Teachers may have to attempt to manage all student\’s activities at once, which can be difficult when students are working on different stages of the same project. Also, some students prefer to work alone, so group work can be problematic.
WAYS TO MAKE LESSONS MORE STUDENT-CENTERED
Develop student\’s self-awareness:
Teachers are usually aware of the students\’ areas, difficulties, and what they have to work on. This is not the same in the case of learners who are not specialists in language learning. A lot of what we do in lessons can seem irrelevant to students or just mechanical. Helping our learners become more aware of their performance of the learning objectives and the things they like or don\’t like doing in class can make it easier for learners to understand the purpose of our classroom work. When students understand the purpose of what we do in the classroom and how it will help them develop, they might be more motivated to learn and even become more autonomous learners.
Self-assessment tools and questionnaires can help students become more aware of the learning process. Still, I think nothing beats frequent feedback and clear communication with students. For example, when giving instructions, instead of telling them what to do, tell them why are they doing it and how it relates to the lesson\’s objective and how everything is going to help them learn and after the lesson, check with students if they feel the lesser names were achieved and if the will like to have similar activities in future. This will help design personalized and relevant lessons.
Encourage peer checking and peer feedback:
This can be done by asking the students to check answers to activities in pairs of small groups is one of the simplest and most effective steps that teachers can take to encourage collaborative work get students to think about their answers and come to conclusions on their own when students check answers in pairs or small groups they have the opportunity to articulate reasons for their answers help peers who are struggling to understand and clarify their won doubts or understand what doubts they still have. Peer checking also allows students to make mistakes and give wrong answers in a less intimidating environment.
Use Guided Discovery:
Studies have shown that learners benefit from both inductive and deductive learning. Deductive learning is a method in which the rules are explained to the learners, who then apply them in practice activities. On the other hand, inductive learning is more student-centred because the students work on the rules themselves and guide tasks are the tools that teachers use to accomplish that. The idea behind this is the mental effort that guided discovery tasks require may make it easier for students to remember the rules later on. When students go through the context, they recall it. They may be more memorable than a lecture given by the teacher. Still, guided discovery tasks can be tricky to create. Unless there are enough examples of the target language, students won\’t be able to have enough data to draw inferences from.
Even if there are enough examples, students may fail to work out the rules if the sentences are too long, ambiguous, or filled with unknown vocabulary. Suppose the teachers do the activity with the whole class and don\’t give students enough time to think. In that case, there will be very little in the way of inductive language analysis going on. When teachers come up with their own guided discovery questions and read them out loud, intonation might give the answers away.
Let students create reading and listening tasks:
We all know the benefits of bringing authentic materials into our lessons, such as real-life articles, posts, and ideas, can be very motivating to students, but the process of selecting texts and designing the tasks that go with them can be very time consuming when we are planning our lessons so why not let students do all the hard work.
Allowing students to select the material that we use in reading and listening lessons instead of using only the ones provided by the coursebook can help us deliver more relevant and engaging lessons. Using the topic and the type of media our students already enjoy. Here is an example of how you can design a lesson in which students design a topic, select the text and design the questions for the reading or listening tasks.
This can be done by:
- Letting the students decide on the topic to find information about.
- Students design questions they want answers to.
- Students search for a text or video on the topic.
- Students check if it answers the group\’s questions.
- Students share the information they found in the group.
Let\’s think that the process to ask students to research and select texts is going to be too time-consuming. So instead, you can simplify it first, select the material yourself, then show students the title illustrations or the thumbnail and ask them to come up with the questions they want to know answers to.
Get feedback from students:
Teachers can make huge efforts to make the lessons more learner-centred, but if teachers or the instructors are not observing the learners and checking whether they benefit from what we do unless our lessons are not learner-centred. Students\’ feedback can give precious information on what is working and what is not. Asking for feedback shows that you care. It further encourages reflection on their learning. It allows their opinions to influence lesson planning. It gives them a voice in how to spend time in class.
We need to rethink learning just as the house needs renovation. We are not just changing the colour or the quality of paint during this, but we are updating its features. Hence, it looks more fashionable and like a modern house. Gone are the days when just a few bunches of kids used to excel and the other lot of kids used to lag. Now our society needs all kinds of students, and it is the necessity of the hour that all of them are well trained and qualified. To make this happen, we have to change the way of teaching, which has to be now more personalized.
Key Principles of Student-Centered Learning
- Learning is personalized: This type of learning takes place when the teachers and the students have good connections. The teachers are aware of the level of the students and can help the students in the development process.
- Learning has Competency-Based: Learning is about the skills that a student has mastered and not just moving in a curriculum. In this, students can proceed at their own pace; this type of system is found in countries like Canada, where they provide the number of courses; the students are free to complete all their courses within flexible years. Students thus can proceed at their own pace enabling teachers to respond to their own needs and interests.
- Learning happens anytime and anywhere: Students will often make important discoveries if they are provided with an environment to explore outside the textbooks. Learning does not start and stop when the bell is rung.
- Another key to student-centred learning is that the students take ownership: The instructors should not make decisions about the students without the students.
It is reimagining education that works for the teachers and the students. The fact is that the world is changing, and therefore evolving the learning process for the new set of learners in this developing time of the 21st century.
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