Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Schools are key institutions for the learning and development of students. Most learning happens in school, and students generally form their identities and beliefs there. It is here future mindsets form. Student-centered learning will help the children develop the right mindset.
However, we rarely talk about how our education system works today and what its future could look like if we continue on this path.
As technology advances, schools must evolve or risk being left behind.
In this blog post – we will see how schools can rethink their curriculum to ensure students get meaningful learning experiences and fulfillment.
The blog post argues that the current education system is not student-centered and does not encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Instead, it promotes competition and rote learning to the detriment of creativity and innovation.
A student-centered education enables students to collaborate and develop creative ideas, take responsibility for their learning, and make educational decisions.
The post suggests several ways to promote student-centered learning in schools.
Why rethink the education system?
The current education system needs a major overhaul. It is not student-centered and does not encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Instead, it promotes competition and rote learning to the detriment of creativity and innovation.
A student-centered education encourages students to collaborate and develop creative ideas. It also encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning and make decisions about their own education.
It also helps students develop a love for learning and a sense of accomplishment that can last a lifetime.
The irony is most of us get to this stage after schooling when we are left alone to figure out life on our own. Isn’t it?
So, why not strengthen the roots to make children adapt to better perspectives and decision-making while at school?
What are the benefits of student-centered learning?
Some institutions already use this type of learning, but negligible compared to all the schools we have worldwide.
The approach emphasizes engaging students in high-quality educational content and experiences.
Student-centered learning promotes creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
It fosters a sense of community and helps students develop leadership skills.
Students learn to be self-directed and learn in a hands-on manner.
Student-centered learning also builds strong relationships between students and teachers, which can encourage students to become lifelong learners and avid consumers of education.
Surprisingly, it is cost-effective and can apply to different courses and curriculums without requiring significant additional resources.
Overall, student-centered learning is an approach that can benefit students and educators alike.
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How does student-centered learning help Generation Alpha and future generations?
In student-centered learning, the students are the focal point of attention.
Student-centered learning is effective when it blends with traditional schooling methods.
It is a system where students are active agents of their education and development. That means they take ownership of their learning and development process.
While the learning encourages creativity and innovation, students have the freedom and space to explore, experiment, and develop ideas and projects of interest.
Most importantly, it emphasizes building positive relationships between students and teachers. The approach focuses on improving the student learning environment through collaboration and interdependence among different education system stakeholders.
Generation alpha is now getting into K-12 and high school from middle school, and they need to own 21st-century skills to become part of the future.
Finally, student-centered learning encourages students to be lifelong learners by helping them develop a passion for learning and reading.
How can we promote student-centered learning in schools?
There are several ways we can promote a student-centered learning approach.
- Encourage students to be actively involved in their education and development.
It can include engaging in school activities and hobbies, extracurricular activities, and developing personal skills and interests.
- Use student-centered learning tools and resources to help students learn more effectively.
These tools and resources can include high-quality textbooks, interactive learning materials, and digital resources.
Moreover, Stanford research (2014) and Michigan Virtual (2020) found evidence of better learning in kids when they included the below in the curriculum,
– Personalized learning plans
– Student voice and choice
– Real-world learning experiences
– Collaborative learning
– Culturally responsive instruction
- Use interactive lessons and activities to engage students in their learning.
These lessons and activities can include learner-centered assessments, effective instructional practices, hands-on learning experiences, using tech tools, and projects with personalization.
- Implement assessment methods that measure students’ progress and achievement.
Assessment methods focussing on student achievement can include performance assessments, portfolio assessments, student-centered learning assessments, and learner-centered assessments.
Ensure these assessments must not promote competition.
- Help teachers develop curricula that support student-centered learning. It can involve using assessments that are learner-centered or student-centered.
The method of assessing student achievement should consider the learner’s style and the objective.
You can also encourage teachers to use professional development sessions focussing on student-based learning practices, such as active reflection or inquiry learning.
- Most importantly, develop the teachers. If they are the ones to shape a student’s life, they need to be abreast of the latest learning practices and techniques.
It means providing them with professional development that focuses on student-centered learning.
- Work with parents and guardians to promote student-centered learning in the home environment.
Teachers can provide parents or guardians with prompts for personal reflection, tips on becoming leaders in their children’s classrooms, and concepts related to learner autonomy and responsibility.
Competency-Based Learning Framework with Graduation Pathways
The framework includes generic 7-core competencies and five pathways to graduation, providing educators with a clear path for evaluating student progress and determining when students are ready to advance to the next level.
The seven core competencies are,
- Learning how to learn
- Critical thinking and problem-solving
- Creativity and Innovation
- Communication and Collaboration
- Digital Literacy and Technology Fluency
- Global and Cultural Awareness
- Social and Emotional Learning
And the five pathways to graduation are,
- Individual graduation plan
- Early graduation
- Credits for hands-on experience
- Freedom to re-work and gain new insights along with experience
- Assess all-round mastery using formative assessment techniques
In 2015, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorized the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to administer reading and math tests for classes 3-8 and high school.
The competency-based learning framework has proven effective in assessing student achievement and determining when students are ready to move on to the next level.
By using competency-based learning frameworks, teachers can determine which areas of their curriculum students are proficient in and work with them accordingly.
The competency-based learning framework also allows teachers to identify gaps in their curriculum and develop strategies to address them.
The competency-based education will create better school leaders, superintendents, and future leaders. Aurora institute is a good example.
In this way, the model promotes student-centered learning by providing students with personalized learning plans that meet their needs and goals.
Recognizing the importance of student autonomy
We must promote student autonomy in our schools to foster creativity and innovation. We can do this by providing opportunities for students to lead and participate in their learning.
It can include offering classes that allow students to teach and learn and promoting student-led classrooms and programs.
Another important step we can take is creating a collaborative environment that encourages students to share their ideas and thoughts.
By building a culture of collaboration within our schools, we can foster a community of learners and create a safe environment for students to express themselves.
Finally, we must encourage students to take ownership of their education by providing them with opportunities to lead and participate in their learning.
Encouraging creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking
By providing students with opportunities to work on projects together, sharing ideas, and critiquing each other’s work, teachers can foster creativity and collaboration in their classrooms.
Another approach is to provide teachers with training in using student-centered teaching techniques. It will help them tailor their classes to meet the needs of individual students fostering a student-centered learning culture.
Additionally, schools and school districts must create a culture that supports student-centered learning by establishing clear policies for classroom conduct and emphasizing the importance of student voice and engagement.
By promoting this professional learning setup of student-centered learning in school, teachers can help students develop important skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and creative expression that will serve them well as they enter adulthood.
Post covid-19, few schools have adopted these best practices to accommodate the needs of students in blended learning. It will prepare them for the real world.
How can we transform our schools into learner-centered institutions?
We need to move away from traditional teacher-centered education and towards student-centered learning.
The students must be engaged earlier in the learning process and have access to high-quality learning tools that align with their needs and interests.
A learner-centered education system is one where students feel safe, secure, supported, empowered, and encouraged to take ownership of their learning and develop their talents naturally.
We also need to develop new teaching methods and tools that are learner-centric. These can include student-led learning, project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, automation practices, portfolio building, creativity workshops, active learning practices, gamification for learning, etc.
With learner profiles, one can draw the goal of this process clearly on the blackboard.
Moreover, student agencies must advocate the new learning methods during their interactions and encourage parents and schools.
A school building future talent early in a student’s life is an ideal way to tackle future world challenges. Imagine when students become capable of perparing strategic plans early in their lives – the world will become a better place naturally.
We must engage students in the learning process from the earliest stages of schooling and create a supportive environment for students to thrive in school.
We must rethink how we measure success in education so that it focuses more on student outcomes and less on inputs. It will help us to identify areas where we can improve our education system for all learners.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Student-centered learning is an educational approach that places students at the center of the learning process. In this method, the curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment are tailored to individual student needs, interests, and learning styles. The goal is to empower students to take an active role in their education, encouraging them to explore topics of personal interest and engage in meaningful projects. Student-centered learning focuses on developing critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and fostering a love for learning, ultimately preparing students to become self-directed, lifelong learners.
Student-centered learning offers numerous benefits to students.
Firstly, it enhances engagement and motivation as students are more invested in their education when they have a say in what and how they learn. It promotes deeper understanding and knowledge retention by allowing students to explore topics that resonate with them. The approach also nurtures individual strengths and talents, fostering a positive self-image and confidence in students.
Additionally, student-centered learning cultivates essential skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, preparing students for success in the real world and future careers.
Understanding the student-centered learning approach and how it can benefit your school is the first step in adopting student-centered learning.
After reading this blog, you should be able to understand why student-centered learning works and how it can benefit your school.
You should also be able to understand the foundational principles of student-centered learning and what it entails.
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