How can I make my Classroom even more Student-Centered?

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Student-centered classrooms enhance learning.A student-centered classroom is one in which students take an active interest and are directly involved in the process of learning. The teacher structures the lessons taking into consideration the needs of the students both as individuals and as a group; and encourages them to take charge of their own learning.

Students are encouraged to work in pairs or in a group to develop skills like communication, cooperation, respect and value for others by assisting and learning from classmates. The role of the teacher is that of a facilitator, i.e. the teacher directs, guides, and assists in their learning process.

Characteristics of a student-centered classroom

The key characteristics of a student-centered classroom are:

  • Lessons are structured such that students are able to expand their learning by connecting new information with the old. Stimulating learning experiences help them explore new territories and test their skills.
  • Students are also encouraged to reflect on their learning process. Allowing students to identify and rectify their mistakes, solve problems by themself and question the lesson, further strengthens their understanding of the material.
  • Teachers motivate and encourage students to link new information to already existing understanding and skills.
  • They also help students to be aware of their own potential and take steps to achieve high academic performance.
  • Classrooms are interactive and emphasize on developing the social skills of students. Importance is given to teamwork and students are given opportunities to collaborate with each other.
  • Instead of depending on paper-pen assessment tools, student-centered classrooms integrate learning into the real world context.

How can I achieve this?

Here are some tips that will help you develop a student-centered classroom:

Dissect the lesson: Divide your students into pairs or groups and let them dissect the lesson that is to be taught. At the start of class, present the topic and instruct them to write down what they expect to learn on the topic. After the lesson has been taught, spend the last 10 minutes going through the list prepared by the students. Instead of the teacher repeating material, a student from every group could pick out a topic from their list and explain what he has learnt.

Q&A sessions: Divide your students into groups, separate the content into parts and instruct them to read through their part of the material. You may also allow students to prepare answers from the content they have read. Once all the groups have formulated their answers, play a quiz where one group presents their answers and the others formulate appropriate questions. The class goes through the entire content through this method.

List it: Instruct the class to write down facts, information or words that they learnt newly and/or any queries that they may have. At the end of class, students are grouped and have to share what they have learnt and attempt to sort out their queries among themselves.

Conduct discussions and debates: Discussions and debates are another great strategy to create a student-centered classroom. Prepare various topics and pair up students so that for every topic there is one person for and against a topic. Similarly, group discussions may also be conducted for socially relevant topics.

Scrutinize the lesson: Facilitate critical analysis and thoughtful reflection by scrutinizing the topic. Encourage students to ask questions like how, when, why, where and what. This type of questioning will strengthen their understanding on the topic.

Practical learning: ‘Learning by doing’ is at times a more effective strategy. A day in the laboratory or outdoors will open the door for active learning.

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Discuss Here: What are some student-centered strategies that you practice in your classroom?

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