Facilitation Strategies for Learner-Centered Teachers

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Being learner-centered can boost a classroom's sense of community and academic achievement. This lesson offers insight into how teachers can facilitate learner-centered environments.

Being Learner-Centered

What does it really mean to have a learner-centered classroom? How can you, as a teacher, work to put your students at the center of your planning and instruction? Being learner-centered means adopting a bottom-up approach to curriculum, teaching, and management. Rather than entering the school year with a set of rigidly fixed units and activities, a truly learner-centered teacher begins by getting to know her students and understanding their hopes, dreams, and needs. Learner-centered teachers may occasionally provide direct instruction, but for the most part, their role is one of facilitator. Teachers who act as facilitators provide their students with materials, opportunities and guidance as students take on agency for other aspects of their own learning. Being learner-centered is not easy because it requires constant flexible attention to who students really are, how they are doing, and what might help them achieve their learning goals. Students in learner-centered classrooms become independent learners who are empowered to collaborate, make good use of available resources, and take charge of their own growth and development.

Starting With Questions

One of the best ways to facilitate learner-centered environments is simply by beginning with students' questions. Whether you are a preschool teacher looking to plan a unit around the seasons or a high school English teacher about to work on Catcher in the Rye, finding out what your students are curious about will allow you to make plans and choose activities that are conducive to learning. A few good strategies for soliciting questions include:

  • K-W-L Charts

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