What is student-centered learning? Is there a difference between student-centered learning and teacher-centered learning? What is the need for students to take this approach? And more importantly why the need to do so? Will it benefit you as a student? Knowing answers to these questions will allow one to have a better understanding and will also aid in moving towards this constructive learning method.
Student centered learning refers to various ways where students are the most active in class and they do way more learning activities which gives them more control. For example, debating and researching on topics that interest them, planning and designing their own projects, gaining opportunities to take lead on classroom discussions/activities.
More so, student-centered learning looks at the learning experience one acquires outside of traditional classroom settings such as practicums, internships, independent research assignments, online classes, travel experiences and community-service projects. In this manner, the teacher does minimal teaching and only tends to provide necessary scaffolding whenever required.
At this point, it is crucial for one to recognize some fundamental characteristics of this approach. There are four main pillars to this and they are (1) learning is personalized, (2) learning is competency-based, (3) learning happens anytime/ anywhere and (4) students take ownership. Let’s briefly elaborate on them.
(1) Learning is personalized
Personalized learning happens when a teacher knows their student, have a very strong relationship with them and at the same time able to meet and identify their students’ development point.
(2) Learning is competency-based
Learning is about the information and skills the students have mastered, not just simply moving through a curriculum. In this competency-based system, students can precede and excel at their own pace in any individual subject. This will in a way also enable teachers to respond to each students’ respective needs, interests and challenges.
(3) Learning happens anytime/ anywhere
Students will be able to make important discovery of themselves and the world around them when they learn beyond the classroom context. In this way, it is evident to say that learning does not start or stop when the school bell rings; it continues throughout.
(4) Students take ownership
It is only wise to not make any form of decision or assumption about students without the students’ themselves. They ought to make a direct role in their own success, hence it not dependent on me or you; but they themselves. Students need to actively engage themselves in the process to ensure that the impact is lasting and meaningful.
For a student-centered learning to work successfully, we need to ensure that all four mentioned principles work concurrently. These pointers don’t work individually but rather in a cohesive manner. As you can see, we have had a mini workshop session where students from different walks of life come into our campus to learn and get a little hands-on experience of the hospitality industry. It was a proud moment for us all as the whole workshop was conducted and delivered by our students themselves. Kudos to them!