Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 05 January 2017 09:14

Characteristics of a Student Centered Classroom

The concept of student-centered learning is an idea that has changed the way educators view how a classroom should look. The traditional style of teacher-centered learning where the teacher stands in front of the class and lectures to students  is no longer some schools' accepted style of teaching. A student-centered classroom is one where the student plays an active role in his learning and the teacher merely serves as a guide.

Mini Lessons
Rather than stand lecturing to the class for a full period, the teacher conducts a mini-lesson where she only spends the first few minutes of class modeling the concept or problem. Then the students are given an activity that reinforces the concept they have just learned and they are allowed to explore on their own.

Cooperative Learning Groups
The student-centered classroom looks nothing like a traditional classroom. Gone are the days when the class was arranged in neat rows with the students sitting one behind the other facing the blackboard. In the student-centered classroom, desks are arranged in groups, allowing students to work together. During class time, the teacher walks around the room ensuring that each group remains focused on task. Due to the nature of group work, a student-centered classroom can be considered noisy or even out of control but when implemented properly the commotion is actually organized chaos where the students are working cooperatively and exchanging information relevant to the concept being learned.

Independent Learning Centers
A student-centered classroom should include learning centers where students can explore concepts independently and at their own pace. These centers can include a library, writing center and subject-specific centers if it is a middle school or high school classroom.

Accountable Talk
Accountable talk, also known as "Socratic seminar" in some schools, is an educational strategy where the class holds a discussion or debate based on a prompt given by the teacher. These discussions are sometimes student-led. In a student-centered classroom, students are encouraged to engage in scholarly conversations with the teacher and fellow students. Students may, in some cases, even be allowed to speak without raising their hand as long as they do so in a respectful manner and their comment is relevant to the lesson or discussion.


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