A recent Edudemic article listed "student-centered learning" as the top educational buzzword—that was gaining traction with school leaders and teachers alike.
The concept of student-centered learning is not new, per se (John Dewey and Carl Rogers have been active advocates), but if you aren't familiar with the concept, it revolves around the idea of encouraging and supporting students to determine the direction of instruction in the classroom. Instead of a teacher acting as a "Sage on the Stage" and lecturing from the front of the class, they act more as a facilitator. The result being a form of personalized learning that engages learners by focusing on their interests while building critical skills, such as communication and collaboration.
If you are looking for a wonderful example of student-centered learning in action, be sure to check out a TEDx talk by veteran teacher Shelley Wright. In it, she shares her experience of turning her classroom over to her students, and how it changed all their lives.
Here's an excerpt of her talk:
“…I learned to believe in my students. To believe in what really deeply matters to them. And to remove whatever obstacles I can to try to make that happen. More importantly my students learned to believe in themselves. They learned that they can make a difference…
Our schools need to be places that set our kids’ hearts on fire [so] that they can figure out what they are passionate about. Where we give them opportunities to pursue it, and that we give them a place to make a difference now…
Our students will often exceed our expectations of them if we only give them the opportunity. ”
You can see the full video below (it's 15 minutes, but well worth a watch)
If you're looking for a way to see if a student-centered approach can work in your district, download Atomic Learning's Collaborative Communication Workbook. Centered around a technology initiative (be it an iPad cart or a 1:1 BYOD), the 6-page workbook asks key questions to ensure your district has a shared vision for the future and is prepared to succeed.