There are various educational practices that embrace the notion of student-centered education. A good way to picture this is to think of a continuum with the least directed, most learner-driven forms of education at one end, and the most ordered and authority-directed forms at the other.
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Broad Context of Education
Least directed, Learner-Driven <———————————> Most ordered, Authority Driven
Individual Classroom Forms
Range of Philosophies
Range of Understanding
What is Taught
How to Teach
All of these topics are actively debated in public dialogue at all levels. It is helpful to our thinking to have an appreciation for the many varieties of educational practice, some of which may be appropriate for one type of learner, but ineffective for another. We present such a continuum with the purpose of creating a broader context for understanding what it means to be student-centered.
The universe of educational practices can be organized and viewed along many dimensions. Placing different approaches along a scale using the concept of ‘student-centeredness’ is a particularly helpful way to conceptualize what goes on in classrooms and other learning environments. From there we can proceed to consider what may be best for an individual learner.
A general catalogue of educational styles and philosophies can range from self-teaching on one end to military schools on the other. What varies as we move along the scale is the extent to which the practice is designed around the individual learner’s needs, learning style, and developmental stage as opposed to the goals of the institution, the teacher, or the philosophy.
Catalogue of Educational Styles
Self-Teaching <——————————————–> Military Schools