Student Roles in a Learner-Centered Environment

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  • 0:02 What Is a…
  • 1:48 Preparing Students
  • 3:00 Students' Role
  • 4:58 Benefits
  • 5:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

The role of the student in a learner-centered environment is different than in a typical classroom. What does this look like? This lesson looks closely at a learner-centered environment, explains the students' role, and provides examples.

What Is a Learner-Centered Environment?

Ashley is a teacher preparing for her first year in the classroom. She plans on designer her classroom based on a learner-centered environment. Ashley views her role as a coach and facilitator, not as a lecturer. Her curriculum focuses on the students' construction of knowledge by being active learners. She plans to teach her students reflective practices and be a reflective teacher. This means that she and her students will consistently think about their learning before, during, and after teaching. Her classroom is arranged to be a community of learning, with desks arranged in groups and places for whole group instruction. There are other components of a learner-centered environment:

  • Assessments are used to determine future teaching goals. This means that test results and other measures of student needs dictate class goals, rather than a pre-packaged curriculum.
  • Teachers and students work and learn together. The teacher is more of an expert consultant, helping students to learn to their full potential. Engaging, hands-on lessons replace lectures.
  • The learning culture in the classroom is cooperative. Students work together to learn things, often helping one another rather than competing. Best marks are awarded when students learn together.
  • Learning is cross-curricular. Unlike traditional instruction, learner-centered environments intermingle related subjects in the same way they might be found in real life. A lesson on the environment might mix math, social studies, and physical science, for instance.

How does Ashley plan for her students? Let's take a look.

Preparing Students for a Learner-Centered Environment

Ashley will focus all aspects of learning on her students, from activities to assessments. She will begin by explaining to students why she's using a learner-centered curriculum. To help them understand their new role and increased responsibility, she'll explain three things.

First, brain research shows that long-term memory and impactful learning only happen when the brain is actively engaged. Therefore, students will increase their role in learning from being passive listeners to becoming active doers.

Second, educators are now focused on preparing students for real-world situations after graduation. New standards now gear learning towards getting students ready for life after school, so teachers need to provide instruction that mimics real-life situations.

Finally, using a learner-centered classroom creates an environment of learning. Instead of students viewing school as a place to go for several hours a day to learn skills, Ashley wants to teach her students to be inquisitive, self-motivated learners.

How will Ashley get her students involved in a learner-centered environment?

Students' Role in a Learner-Centered Classroom

You may have noticed the role of the students is different than that of a typical classroom. They have more responsibilities in their learning and develop a high level of comfort that allows them to ask questions and work with others. Ashley knows students won't know how to do these things on their own. Her job is to facilitate an environment that centers on students using new techniques and methods.

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