Creating a Learner-Centered Classroom & Environment

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  • 0:04 A Learner-Centered Classroom
  • 0:50 Get to Know Your Students
  • 1:39 Promote Reflection
  • 2:16 Assessment and…
  • 3:38 Create Flexible Groups
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Education is moving toward a more learner-centered model, where student needs and interests are used to develop lessons and activities. This lesson explores how a learner-centered model is applied to the classroom.

A Learner-Centered Classroom

You're probably familiar with the traditional classroom. At the center of this instructional model, the teacher is the provider of education, and students are the recipients. The limits of this 'teacher-centered' model are that it fails to address the unique needs and interests of each student, and worse, it can make students dependent on teachers for learning. In today's complex and changing world, the earlier students learn to become independent, lifelong learners, the more successful they will be.

In a learner-centered classroom, students are the focus of education, while teachers facilitate learning and help students reflect and become responsible for their education. There are several strategies to ensure that a classroom environment is learner-centered. Let's look at how one teacher uses each of these strategies.

Get to Know Your Students

Ms. Jackson is a 2nd grade teacher. Every year, she strives to make her classroom learner-centered. The first thing she does when school begins is start to get to know her students. In order to have a learner-centered classroom environment, you must know as much as possible about your students.

Learning about your students can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Ms. Jackson usually has her students fill out a short fact sheet about themselves, on which there are various yes or no questions written for their reading level. She also sends a more in-depth sheet home for parents or guardians to fill out.

Through these sheets, Ms. Jackson learns about her students' interests, abilities, and personalities. She also spends the first week doing various icebreaker activities that help her get to know her students better. With all of this information, Ms. Jackson can begin to design lessons that appeal to each student in her room.

Promote Reflection

A large part of a learner-centered classroom is helping students become responsible for their own learning. To do this, Ms. Jackson engages students in activities that allow them to reflect on their learning and work, which helps them become more thoughtful about their education.

For example, Ms. Jackson will meet with students after tests to discuss their performance. Students who do well often come up with reasons why they think they succeeded. Students who might not have done as well are encouraged to think about what they can change about their learning in order to improve. Through this process, Ms. Jackson's students develop self-reflection skills that are critical for a learner-centered classroom.

Assessment and Encourage Exploration

In a learner-centered classroom, assessment data should always drive instruction. Ms. Jackson uses various assessments to determine what her students need from her in order to succeed. Since the instruction is learner-centered, it's constantly being adjusted to reflect what individual students need.

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