Characteristics of Learner-Centered Teachers

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Learner-centered teachers are those that switch the focus in the learning process from themselves as givers of information to their students as owners of their own education. When students have control, they are more motivated to be engaged.

Learner-Centered Teaching

Imagine a classroom with one teacher and thirty students. Now, imagine that the teacher is at the front of the room giving the students a non-stop stream of information. The students probably aren't very engaged. I'm sure you've been in a class like this. Were you bored? Did you enjoy it? Did you learn anything?

Now imagine how you would have felt if you were in charge of your own education. Maybe your teacher gave you the choice of writing a book report, doing an oral presentation, or making a panorama model based on a book you'd read in class. Or, maybe you were able to choose which country you wanted to learn about instead of being assigned a country. Would you feel more excited or motivated to learn if you had this type of control?

Learner-centered teachers shift the teacher's role from being a provider of information to being a facilitator of learning. This shift in focus increases student engagement in the learning process and makes students more responsible for their own learning progress. With learner-centered teachers, students become invested in their own learning because they are actively driving the learning process, unlike with non-learner-centered teachers.

Advantages of Learner-Centered Teaching

Why is learner-centered teaching important?

By creating a learner-centered environment, you increase each student's motivation to remain engaged in the learning process. This is especially true in higher grades, where students' motivation to learn increasingly centers on the interests and subjects they believe will be personally beneficial. I'm sure you've heard students say, 'And how will this help me when I'm older?'

Learner-centered teaching fosters independence. While this style of teaching is applicable to all levels, in higher grades, there is a real push to help students transition from dependent student to independent adult. Learner-centered teaching achieves this goal through giving students the autonomy they need to drive their own learning process, while still having a teacher available for guidance when needed.

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