On hearing the term student-centered education, many people will have a pretty good idea of what it means to them. It will probably have something to do with a type of educational environment in which the child or student is the focal point of activity. And what other focus could there be, one might ask?
Since it is the student who is being educated, where else would you focus? As it turns out, this is not nearly as obvious as we might hope or imagine. In many learning environments, the focus is not at all on the student, but on the teacher, the curriculum, the state test that will be given at the end of the year, the values of the institution providing the education, or the latest school reform mandated by the district, the state, or the federal government. Maintaining a student-centered focus in many instances can be extremely challenging due to the range of educational contexts that do not always seem to support or encourage an environment where the child is the focal point of the activity.
- Are students working together to learn from one another, as well as from the activity and/or the teacher?
- Are your students learning by completing activities that involve problem-solving and self-direction?
- Are your students involved in experiential learning or carefully planned activities that become a vehicle for learning?
If the answer is, “No,” you may want to explore what’s need to make a move towards a student-centered approach.