In a rapidly changing world of globalization and civilization, the concept of student-centered approach to learning cannot be overemphasized. Gone are those days when teaching and learning adopted a unilateral, stereotype and parochial approach. Of what use is a learning approach, when the student is removed out of the center? The proper understanding of this concept helps to make an evaluative judgement of a good learning medium. In this article we shall see what Is Student Centered Approach To Coaching?
Student centered approach is a learning method in education that brings a student to the frontline. It is one that puts all the attention of the learning process on the child learner. The attention of the whole exercise shifts from every other person or thing to the child. In this approach, the student faces life as it were. It allows the child to make connections with real life possibilities. The student is presented a blank check to interact and relate with the learning resources available.
This approach is quite different from some other approaches that may not allow the student the leeway to carry out learning empirically on their own. It doesn’t deny the student some basic classroom learning rights like asking questions from the teacher, which may not be realistic in a teacher centered approach. This approach makes learning lively as there’s a high tendency there won’t be any dull insipid moment in the classroom, since the student is in control of the whole process.
Learning becomes interesting and fascinating because students are allowed to dictate and determine the learning atmosphere in the class. Students are given the freedom and privilege of expression, which may give room for eclectic manner of assimilation. Learners tend to appreciate learning when they have the freedom to dictate the flow of activities in class. This enables students to be engaged physically, mentally and psychologically. They learn new things fast because discoveries are easily made in the process of engagement.
This approach will also help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students. This approach helps students to stand on their own instead of fully relying on the teacher. The teacher is able to identify the strong ones from the weak one and it makes differentiation of abilities easy. Likes and dislikes of students are also identified, which makes it easy to remedy any shortcoming. This approach also attempts to make the student active and participating, thereby given no room for time wastage. Every time is utilized effectively as there’s no dormant moment. Every student is found productively doing one thing or another. The passion, zeal and enthusiasm of learners are sustained and retained.
Every student is happy and motivated to learn. It reduces the risk of perpetually absconding from responsibility on the path of the students since they already know they won’t be contained in a monotonous atmosphere. Learning becomes rapid as a result of direct involvement of learners. The potentials of the students are practically unveiled. They take full responsibility for their actions and full control of the class. Various ways of doing the same thing appears as opposed to the one-way method of teacher centered approach. The role of the teacher in this approach is that of an instructor and a facilitator. The characteristic, methods and benefits of student-centered approach will be discussed below.
Characteristics of Student-Centered Approach
There are evident attributes that make this method of learning viable. A few of the qualities will be discussed briefly.
1. Partnership and Participation: This is a conspicuous attribute in learner centered approach to learning. It gives room for students to mingle, work together and share ideas for learning to take place. Students can be paired up or divided into groups for class tasks, projects and assignments. Students have to work as teams to achieve a common learning goal. They may have to brainstorm or use their previous knowledge to proffer solutions to tasks.
2. Responsibility: In this method of learning, students are seen as responsible and answerable for their own actions. When learners discover they are responsible for their actions, they tend to give diligence to matters, thereby shunning every tendency to be indolent. Responsibility will make them want to give their best, seeing a shortcoming in an aspect will affect the general performance.
3. Genuineness and truth: Since students have first-hand exposure to learning and instructional materials, there’s going to be sincere response as opposed to the teacher centered method, where insincere replies can be given to teachers just to pretend at times to have learnt a particular concept or an attempt not to stress the teacher, even when knowledge has not taken place. It’s very easy to give a genuine information to fellow learners than adults sometimes.
4. Individualized learning: To be frank, students learn to do something productively by doing it. There’s always a drive in learners to work without the interference of adults. This will surely address their educational needs as they are able to make connections, using their preconceived ideas about a particular concept. They are always ready to exercise their freedom in attending to pertinent issues. Individualism helps a learner to see things himself or herself and this in turn enhances retention.
5. Thoughtfulness: Since students are in charge of the learning activities, it avails them the opportunity to take their time and carefully think as they interact with instructional and learning materials. It also brings out the creativity in them since they determine the flow of events. They don’t need to rush into doing things. They critically examine and arrive at a reasonable conclusion about whatever task they are engaged with.
Feasible Methods in Learner Centered Approach
A number of practical methods are realistic and possible in the successful execution of this approach to learning. Some of these methods will also be shortly discussed.
1. Pair work: This is like the primary method realistic in this approach. It entails dividing learners into two. Two learners are paired up for a specific class task. Pairing is a good approach because it helps learners who may not be too convenient with fairly many people. Since learners are just in pairs, it enhances maximum attention and productivity. Just like the popular aphorism, “It takes two to tango”, it takes two people of like minds to work effectively.
2. Group discussion: This is like the first method. The only difference is that it involves more learners. Learners are divided into groups of four, five or six, depending on the type of task to be undertaken, the space available in the classroom and some other factors. This approach could be more energetic and engaging since the number of learners has increased. The teacher is a bit active here to forestall a rambunctious atmosphere.
3. Classroom interlocution: This is also like the two methods discussed above, only that it is larger in number than the two, since the whole class is involved. A high level of energy and brainstorming is expected here. Students interact and progress is monitored. This may be somewhat demanding as almost every learner may want to make one contribution or another. The teacher however has to be on top of the situation here to prevent a potential noisy atmosphere.
4. Debates: This is an orderly and organized persuasive discussion between or among groups. Students could be grouped and given a particular topic to debate. This often happens after a theoretical knowledge of argumentative essay, for example, in an English class. Students are afterwards grouped to practice what they have learnt theoretically. It becomes more engaging when it presents gender sensitive topics like “Sex education should be included in the school curriculum” to be supported by a gender and opposed by another gender. It is always very interesting because no gender wants to lose. Every group is fully prepared to defend their motion to a very convincing extent. Even when it comes as an extemporaneous presentation, learners will still want to find a way around it to come out in their best performance. The teacher still has to be on top of his game because an atmosphere like this may want to come with some chaotic or disorderly tendencies.
5. Gaming and sporting: This physically and mentally engages the learners the more. At the classroom level, the previous or background knowledge of learners are brought to the frontline. What they have been exposed to in the past, relating to games comes to play here. Students are likely to transfer their previous learning to their present real-life situation. Outside the class, students are divided into teams, for example in football, to healthily compete. This unveils their physical and mental capacity. It is also a form of collective responsibility. Every learner pulls together to achieve the desired result.
6. Role Play: This is like a drama presentation where students are allowed to act out their imaginations. This brings out the best in them and also prepares them for a better and brighter future. Their interest is likely sustained as they engage in different roles on stage. A learner who is made to act like a king in a drama presentation also learns leadership skills. This also brings out the result of united or combined effort. In case of dance drama presentation, it teaches the learners how to multitask, considering they have to do more than one thing at a time.
7. Field trips and excursions: Here, learners are taken out of the four walls of the classroom to see things themselves as they really are. Learners for example could be taken to different places for sight-seeing. The idea of “seeing is believing” is put into practice. Learners could be taken to the zoo or aquarium to see the differences between the large reptile family or primate family. After the exercise, learners are allowed to give their judgement on the outing. The essence of the whole exercise is to make connections with live realities.
Benefits of Learner centered Approach
There are some advantages that go in line with this method of teaching. Some will be briefly discussed below.
1. The first benefit of this approach is that it makes learners to learn at their own pace. When the mind of a learner is ready to learn, learning takes place systematically. Strong and weak learners are identified and progress is made with respect to their respective abilities. Learning takes place in steps and reinforcement of knowledge is enabled. This does not also give room for unhealthy competition in knowledge acquisition since every learner learns at their own speed.
2. Another benefit of this approach is that it makes learning active. Learners have the leeway to relate and interact with each other or one another as the case may be. Activity hastens learning and retention considering learners are involved. Seemingly challenging subjects are tacked collectively and the combination of abilities will make the exercise surmountable.
3. Knowledge stays and sticks for a very long time in this approach since it’s not the teacher who stays somewhere to bore the learners excessively. Every discovery is made by learners and it is easier to remember what a learner has been involved in. It thereby makes it difficult for learners to forget learnt concepts.
4. This approach also helps to identify and proffer solutions to them. Learners are able to spot challenges in learning and through connections, interactions and collaborative effort, such problems are solved easily. It also helps in critical thinking when they get to seemingly challenging areas of the task. A number of methods are adopted to bring lasting solutions.
5. This approach will also create an optimistic and anticipating atmosphere. Learners are desirous and always expecting the next set of tasks. It somewhat prepares their minds for the tasks ahead.
What Is The Difference Between Teacher Centered Approach And Student-Centered Approach?
Teacher centered Approach is a traditional and stereotype method of learning which brings the teacher prominence and the teacher dictates the flow of activities in the classroom while learner centered Approach is a modern learning approach that foregrounds and brings the learners to the center of attraction, attention and makes them responsible for their actions.
Having discussed all above, it becomes evident that students are lively in an environment where they have a say, make meaningful contributions and act independently as opposed to an approach where little or no attention and relevance is given to them. Learners are motivated and enthusiastic when they relate with peers and mingle with colleagues. The ultimate goal of the whole exercise, which is to learn and apply learning is smoothly achieved. It also avails the teacher the opportunity to differentiate learners based on their abilities and capabilities in attempting given tasks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Student Centered Approach help slow learners?
Since this approach allows learners to learn according to their speed, it is a viable method for knowledge acquisition in slow learners. And when learning is not forceful, learners take their time to make relative progress.
Is The Teacher Totally Redundant In Student Centered Approach?
The fact that students are at the center and made to act independently does not mean that the teacher is totally displaced. The role of the teacher here is that of a facilitator. The teacher is not active but pays attention, guides and monitors the progress of the students.