I’ve always supported and believed in student-centered learning and have time and again realized that this approach can never be successful without the teacher giving up the need to control. The article throws light on a very important topic – students needing a voice in why, what, and how learning experiences take shape.
No learner will have the motivation if they don’t know why they’re learning what they’re learning. I feel it’s very important for the teacher to clarify the relevance of whatever is being taught right at the beginning. I try to incorporate a student-centered approach by asking the students to come up with reasons why my course would be useful or how they can use it at their workplace. Even if only half the class comes up with ideas, they motivate almost the whole class.
Luckily, the courses I teach have some contents that need to be covered and some that are optional. With the optional content, I try to get a general opinion from the class regarding what they feel would be more useful to them. Having a voice in what they learn definitely motivates them.
When it comes to how the course is taught I use different methods including presentations, hands-on training and very little lecture. I find that with short courses, sometimes only 25 hours, it’s really difficult, to determine what teaching method best fits a particular class, or to offer approaches they can pick from. Being able to offer preferred teaching methods would definitely make a huge difference. Another really interesting topic the article talks about is the “Genius hour” wherein a small percentage of class time can be allotted for innovation.
Although I believe student-centered approaches are the best for 21st century learning, I always have doubts about how much control students can have in a class room.