The idea of student-centered learning is not a recent idea. In fact, as early as the 20th century, educational educators such as John Dewey argued for highly active and individualized pedagogical methods which place the student at the center of the learning process.
In this lesson, we shall see how the teacher can expand his options to make himself more effective and relevant in the 21st millennium information age. In addition, suggestions shall be made on how a student-centered classroom (SCL) can be supported by information technology (IT).
The Traditional Classroom
It may be observed that classrooms are usually arranged with neat columns and rows of student chairs, while the teacher stands in front of the classroom or sits behind his desk. This situation is necessitated by the need to maintain classroom discipline, also to allow the teacher to control classroom activities through lecture presentation and teacher-led discussions.
Noticeably, however, after spending so many minutes in lesson presentation and class management, students can get restless and fidgety. Often enough, the teacher has to also manage misbehavior in class as students star to talk among themselves or simply stare away in lack of attention. To prevent this situation, teachers often make students take time to work individually on worksheets can help the situation.
The SCL Classroom
John Dewey has described traditional learning as a process in which the teacher pours information to student learners, much like pouring water from a jug into cups. This is based on the long accepted belief that the teacher must perform his role of teaching so learning will occur. This learning approach is generally known as direct instruction, and it ahs worked well for obtaining many kinds of learning outcomes.
The problem with the direct instruction approach to learning, however, is the fact that the world’s societies have began to change. Of course, this change may not be strongly felt in many countries in which the economy longer depends primarily on factory workers who do repetitive work without thinking on the job. The traditional classroom and direct instruction approach to learning conform to this kind of economies.
In contrast, in industrialized societies we find knowledge based economies in which workers depend on information that can be assessed through information and communication technologies (ICTs). Desiring to gain effectiveness, efficiency and economy in administration and instruction, schools in this developed economies have also adopted the support of ICTs. Their students have now become active not passive learners, who can interact with other learners, demonstrating independence and self-awareness in the learning process.
Generally the new school classroom environment is characterized by student individually or in group:
● Performing computer word processing for text or graph presentations
● Preparing power-point presentation
● Searching for information on the internet
● Brainstorming on ideas, problems and project plans
● As needed, the teacher facilitating instruction, also giving individualized instruction to serve individual needs