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Student Centered Learning Essay

2330 words - 9 pages

Student-Centered Learning
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Definition(s)

There are several ways that student-centered learning can be described, and they all lead back to the same basic idea, the student. First, student-centered learning can be defined as a discipline that involves the interaction of a team of students that experience creative learning to be used in the real world (Thornburg, 1995). Thornburg (1995) also mention that students are essential to the classroom, just like a team member is essential to a game. He says that teachers are part of the definition of student-centered learning, but they are not the main attraction. The students are the focus, and the teacher is the one who can assist among small groups of students. Eaton (1994) describes student-centered learning as the opposite if "teacher-centered". Another way of looking at student-centered learning is that the goals of a system (school) should meet the goals of the students (Harmon, & Hirumi, 1996). Next, the definition that naming students as "partners" with teachers in education can be part of the student-centered learning process (Alley, 1996). Lastly, Csete and Gentry (1995) use the term "learner controlled instruction" instead of a student-centered approach. Learner controlled instruction can be termed as when the learner has some control in the type of instruction that is given. The control factors can range from "procedures" to "time restraints" to "evaluation". The point is that each student’s needs are different and in student-centered learning and learner controlled instruction the learner can decide how and what they want to learn, to function in the real world.

Methods and Materials used in Student-Centered Learning

Harmon and Hirumi (1996) mention that first research and development is essential when implementing student-centered learning. Research and development helps with predicting the cost and the effectiveness of the approach on the system. The idea is that the research and development will increase students’ future accomplishment.

The first approach of student-centered learning that will be discussed is a teaching method called the Learning Cycle. A study was done with fifth grade students learning about sound. There were some students who were taught using the Learning Cycle, and some students were taught using the textbook approach. To see which method produced a greater understanding of sound the students were randomly selected, and an interview method was used in both groups to see what the students previously knew about sound. Then, in the instruction part of the procedure an instructor was used in both methods. In the Learning Cycle approach there were three phases: "exploration, concept introduction and concept application". During these three phases the students worked together in-groups while discussing their ideas and using manipulatives to act out the concepts. Also, the teacher would act as a facilitator, while the students...

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