Student Centered Learning

The article,  Student-Centered Learning: It Starts With the Teacher, had several points that spoke to me as an ECE instructor.

We teach students how to observe and document children’s interests and then create activities or offer materials that build on that particular interest identified through our observations. By offering these types of activities and materials, they are encouraged to continue to explore and build on their present knowledge. We as instructors and teachers need to be able to expand this type of process from infant and preschool children to the school setting; elementary school through to post secondary.

I think we need to be creative in our teaching methods and open to letting the students have a say in how they learn the material. As a student myself, if I don’t see the value in a lesson then I have hard time focusing and completing the tasks assigned. Feeling empowered to be able to take charge of my own learning motivates more then listening to the ‘sage on the stage’ for hours and then having to write a huge paper. Understanding we all learn in different ways helps us as instructors let go of the reins a bit and let students make some of the decisions.

Motivation is so important in learning. The carrots and stick method doesn’t work very well or for very long. Students need to be motivated from within to push themselves to achieve greater understanding of a topic or become more competent in a particular skill. I believe giving students some control over how they achieve these goals is going to be more of a motivation than the promise of a ‘good grade’ at the end.

We all have learning objectives that need to be taught. How do we transfer this practice into our own classrooms while ensuring our students leave us with a good understanding of the learning objectives and the ability to preform the job they will be hired for?


One thought on “Student Centered Learning”

  1. Hi Cindy,

    I really like your post on this topic, and several things that you mention resonate with me–especially where you touch upon motivation and learning styles. I teach two very different courses–one is a life drawing studio course, and the other is a History of Graphic Design course. Both are required courses, and my classes include students with various levels of experience, interest and motivation. I’m always looking for ways to improve the curricula and my teaching approaches in each class. My cues in this regard has been informal student feedback. For example, in the History course, I did away with the mid-term and final exams (set by a previous instructor, not me) after a student made a comment about how he’d rather learn by doing instead of by writing exams. Students now do self-directed, independent and group projects instead of exams. Hopefully, giving the students more leeway to pursue their personal interests within the range of curricular outcomes increases their motivation.

    One thing I have been trying to do with assignments in my courses is to make them cooperative with projects in other courses. For example, a drawing assignment I assign might be used to support a project in another course, where the students are designing a video game pitch, or producing a children’s book. I look for ways to tie the courses together so the learning experience seems more integrated, instead of being a collection of separate courses. In your teaching situation, are there opportunities that you are taking, for cross-course collaboration which would allow students to see that what they learn in your course is useful in their other courses?

    Liked by 2 people

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