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Cultivating Engagement Through Student-Centered Learning

Richmond Solution
February 1

In very simple terms, Student Centered Learning is a methodology that focuses on students and their individual needs. The student is placed at the center of the learning process and given a voice

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Cultivating Engagement Through Student-Centered Learning

What is Student-Centered Learning?

In very simple terms, Student-Centered Learning is a teaching approach that focuses on students and their individual needs. The student is placed at the center of the learning process and is given a voice to choose what, how, and why they want to study. Students take an active role, different from that of the traditional approach, which focuses on the teacher and in which the student takes a passive role in general. In Student-Centered Learning, the teacher takes the role of a facilitator or guide, which allows him to know his students better, thus building stronger relationships with them. This way, students will feel more comfortable and safer in taking risks, asking questions, making mistakes, and being creative without being ridiculed or punished for it.

There are some essential elements for this approach to work:

  • Flexibility – Being open to changing the plan, improvising, taking control, or giving students the freedom to decide.
  • Respect for diversity, and every student - both from the teacher and among students. This is also shown by adapting methods to the needs of each student.
  • Promoting cooperation instead of competition. Creating a sense of community and belonging.
  • Promoting students to make decisions and give their opinion, for example, about the next topic or project, or the book they want to read next month.
  • Creating a positive and supportive climate for each student in the group.

What benefits does the Student-Centered Learning approach have?

First of all, it is more likely that students will remain engaged if they are at the center of the learning process. This is because they will be more interested in the topic and involved in the process of learning. Let’s not forget that students succeed more often when they are learning something that matters to them.

Additionally, learners feel they are being treated as individuals with their own ideas and opinions, which are incorporated into their lessons because they are important. Student-Centered Learning gives the student strength and confidence to stand up and speak their mind. It shows them that their voice is valuable.

In Student-Centered Learning, students constantly must solve problems. This helps them develop critical thinking skills that they will use in their daily life. Student-Centered Learning will help them be better prepared for the real world. SCL challenges students’ assumptions about learning because it encourages them to reflect on what they are learning and how they are learning it.

Finally, students will develop a stronger, deeper relationship with their teacher, and their love for learning will grow. Learning becomes an enjoyable activity and one that they will seek to continue for the rest of their lives.

What does SCL mean for the teacher?

Teachers need to be willing to change their leadership style from directive to consultative. They need to trust their students and increase the amount of student-led learning activities. It may seem that the teacher takes a less important role in SCL but in fact, his role is essential for the success of the approach. Learner-centered teaching does include explicit skill instruction. Teachers teach students how to think, solve problems, analyze arguments, and many other skills relevant to any discipline.

Teachers are experts and key sources of knowledge that students have access to in SCL. They also provide structure and guidance for their students. In SCL we aim to activate prior student knowledge, connect to students’ experiences, and adapt to their needs. Only teachers know how to help their students do that.

Creating a student-centered learning environment can be wonderful for teachers. When the teacher takes the chance to step back and allows his students to take control of their learning, he will be greatly surprised by the development of skills he will see in his students. This approach can benefit everyone involved and may lead to the next step in the evolution of our paradigms about learning and education.

Have you tried changing focus to a student-centered learning approach? What has been your experience? Share it with us! #RichmondSolution #Let’sBlog #RichmondSolutionCommunity #StudentCenteredLearning

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