Teacher Centered Learning or Student Centered Learning?

FlowergirlDeb2April 22, 2002

Which is better in anyone's opinion?? And why?

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duckie

I think I need more information to answer the question. I have never heard of teacher centered learning. Although I can imagine what teacher centered teaching might be, I don't really know what teacher centered learning is. I am assuming that I understand what student centered learning is, however, I might well be misinterpreting that term as well. The term "better" is also a bit vague. What is better for this is not necessarily better for that.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 6:57AM
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Mommabear

More educational gobbledeygook.

Mommabear

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 8:44AM
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onehappymeal

My opinion: let's set a curriculum. Let's teach it. Let's help our kids to learn it.

Is that teacher-centered or student centered learning?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 1:41PM
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two_munkeys

I've been following your posts FlowergirlDeb2, and I understand you are studying to be a teacher. From your various posts, I get the impression that you are assigned a 'homework' project, and you come here to post it hoping that we will unwittingly do it for you.

Totally unrelated to this post: I am a scientist with a masters degree in biology. As a qualification element for acceptance into grad school, I was required to write, and successfully defend, a thesis in my final year of undergrad. My thesis was titled "Psychology: Science, Fiction, or Art?" I think you can deduce what it was about. My prof jokingly said he'd pass me just because I had the unmitigated gall to attack that topic as a thesis! (He was joking of course.) One of things I researched was the 'labels' that psychology likes to give to various patterns of behaviour. I see they have invented another two or three: "teacher-centered learning" and "student-centered learning."

Haha! Will it never end!

(Oh and if you care, my money is on art)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 2:06PM
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Stephanie_in_TN

Student centered learning is a hands-on for the students. For younger students, that is centers. They go from activity to activity learning by doing. For older students, it means independent or group projects, research papers, experimentation.

Teacher centered learning is, very simplified, lecture by the teacher.

I'm sure we would all agree we have learned much from both. Different lessons call for different methods. Student centered learning is fun and teaches many skills. But we'd be arrogant to say we've never learned a thing from the lecture of a knowledgable teacher. Even as parents, we approach raising our chilren with both methods even if we dont' give it a label. I expect my children to experience and learn from both methods throughout their education.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 4:03PM
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FlowergirlDeb2

Actually I don't come here and post to do my homework at all, this is for personal education, personal interest, NOT a grade or anything!! I was just studying both teacher centered and student centered and was curious about what you all in this forum thought, though I didn't give the definitions!:( Oops...I apologize, but Stephanie did, and I appreciate that!! Thanks! Mommabear, you don't like me do you??????

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 11:30PM
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Arkansasgardenboy

I couldn't get it clear in my mind. Thanks for the explanation. I like hands on activities. Lecturing can be the poorest method of teaching. So there needs to be an interacting of all methods IMHO to be the most effective. Different children learn better in diffent ways. By this way you give more children an equal chance to learn by their best way of learning.
It always help me from becoming bored and losing interest.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 11:51PM
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Mommabear

Actually I like you very much. I just think you have been taken in by the latest rhetoric being put out by the educational establishment.

Mommabear

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 8:48AM
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duckie

Now that I understand a bit more, I feel the question truely is much to broad to be answered. It is almost like asking what the weather is like in North America. In specific instances it can be intelligently discussed, but as such a broad catagory, it becomes almost impossible.

As a side question, where do books fall in all of this? I assumed they would have to be teacher based, but then one poster mentioned doing "research papers" as being student based. But it seems to me that most reasarch papers are researched mainly by reading.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 1:03PM
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Arkansasgardenboy

Research papers are student centered when they get to do research of their interests and generally on topics they have some experiences. They get to build and add to their interest by exploring in reading, observing, listening, feeling, smelling and applying what they have researched to a greater level. They get to broaden their interests by knowing more on the specific topic as well into other areas.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 1:36PM
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Mommabear

To add a more intelligent (I hope) answer to the original question:

It sort of reminds me of the whole language/phonics debate. In the real world my kids use a combination of both methods. Each has its stregnths/weaknesses. Together they work well. It's not an either/or proposition.

Mommabear

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 1:55PM
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duckie

I guess I am confused by the reading issue. It seems to me that reading and listening to a lecture have a similar amount of student involvement. In fact, at a lecture, a student is more likely to become involved because there is often a question/answer portion. When the same student reads a book on the same subject, the student is a whole lot less likely to write to the author to ask a question.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 5:13PM
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anita9

Duckie, the difference would be that if a teacher gives a lecture, assigns a book to read, and tells the student to write a research paper based on the book - that is not student-directed learning because the teacher has called all the shots.

If the teacher gives a lecture, tells the students to go to the library and find a book they think is interesting, and read it and they have the option to prepare a research paper, or give a speech to the class, or create a model, that is more of a student-centered experience. The student is able to choose a topic and a book they are personally interestd in, and able to choose a method of presenting that they feel they can excel at. The student is likely to become more invested in the project if he or she is able to make more choices and personalize it.

A good expression for teacher-centered vs. student-centered learning is "the sage on the stage or the guide on the side."

I don't think there is anyone who thinks that both don't have their place.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 5:41PM
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FlowergirlDeb2

I believe that a balance of both could be one of the most productive ways to teach, however, I truly believe that if children are doing more "hands on" and group activities where they learn from their peers, the affects of the lessons will last longer and have a much more meaningful affect as well.
Again, I am NOT asking for any homework to be done through this forum, sorry to dissapoint 2monkeys, I happen to enjoy these discussions and I learn here too, thank you.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 6:41PM
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Arkansasgardenboy

Learning to do
Doing to learn
Earning to live
Living to serve
FFA Motto

What will take the place of "hands on" activities? Nutin hunney!!!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2002 at 11:12PM
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Mommabear

I think it also depends on the age of the students. There is no way you could sit 25 kindergardeners in a room and lecture them from 8AM until lunchtime. The kids would not learn anything that happened after the first half hour. So most teachers have schedules where there might be a teacher led activity for a half hour, then a half hour where the kids had to do some work related to the teacher led activity. Then they might have centers which are more student led. Then a snack, then another teacher led acitivity, etc. In the early years education is more skills oriented and the kids need plenty of practice to acquire reading, writing and arithmetic skills. So, by necessity you need to provide them with opportunities to practice on their own.

However, around 3rd grade education becomes a bit more content oriented. More concerned with facts, and the application of the skills already acquired. At this point they NEED a bit more adult leadership than they did in the primary years. After all the content must be presented to them. Even so-the kids need to have time to explore the things they are learning themselves.

So there really should be a mix of each. Kids need both to learn.

Mommabear

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 9:35AM
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anita9

An emphasis on students finding information for themselves, and focusing on topics that they are interested in, is important throughout school, and I would argue, grows more important as students grow older and are able to make better choices. Here is an article that studied how children retrieve information from a library online catalogue. Without intending to, the author found that students being taught with a more student-centered curriculum (he doesn't use that term) were far better at finding information creatively - the way we all do in life, with no multiple-choice options.

It is kind of a long article, but here is an excerpt:

"Important contributors to children's information retrieval behavior are their motivation, purpose, and interest in their topics. During the course of this study, it became clear that some students were more involved in the information retrieval process than others. For some, it was an adventure and challenge that carried them to new understanding of the material they were studying. Their products went beyond copying facts from their readings to point out discrepancies and unanswered questions and, thus, to display their critical thinking skills. These children's experiences also led them to develop more advanced information skills, which they needed in order to pursue their interests in depth. For instance, the group of first graders studying planets soon began to share information about their planets and to propose theories that related the characteristics of the planets to their size and distance from the sun. Their written reports contained ideas and questions about such matters as what it would take to allow people to live on presently uninhabited planets.

"For others, that spark of interest was missing. These children found the minimal information they needed to satisfy the assignment but contributed little of their own thinking and did not advance their information skills. Their products were simple lists of facts without interpretation or comparison. For instance, when fifth graders were asked to write reports about the states, their assignment sheet contained a list of pieces of information to be included in each report (e.g., population, area, major cities). Not surprisingly, their actual reports provided 'just the facts.'"

Here is a link that might be useful: Children and an OPAC

    Bookmark   April 26, 2002 at 12:10PM
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Arkansasgardenboy

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him/her drink.
You can plow him/her and make him/her thirsty. Then he/she will go drink on his/her own. Just a word from the plow boy.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2002 at 1:39PM
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FlowergirlDeb2

Anita....I just have to know if you are an educator?? I wish I could express my opinions as eloquently as you, because I try and I don't sound quite right!!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2002 at 1:19AM
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anita9

Thanks Deb! That is so nice of you to say. I'm not an educator, I'm actually an accountant, but my fiancee is a preschool teacher and is starting work on his master's next year so he can be an elementary-school teacher. He has done a lot of research on multiple intelligences and natural learning, and I love to watch him work with kids. It is like he is a psychologist, but for 20 children at a time. He works for a private school with a big focus on alternative teaching styles, and an emphasis on diversity, and they don't do testing - but the placement scores of children coming out of the school are always higher than the public schools and the more traditional private schools. He doesn't like working in a private school though; he wants to teach public school - he doesn't enjoy working somewhere that isn't accessible to all children. I think that there will be things he really misses when he gets to a public school, though. But I think you should look into private schools. They can be really incredible and many aren't too elitist, though some are. The people who teach at my FI's school are people who believe in alternative methods, and a lot of people who went into teaching later in life. I went to elementary school with some kids who had done Waldorf schools - those seem so cool, from what I have read.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2002 at 2:00AM
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FlowergirlDeb2

Anita, thanks!! I too am obviously someone who completely backs the alternative methods of teaching vs. traditional teaching methods. With all of the research done on the learning styles, cultural diversity, the harmful affects of a BEHAVIORIST CLASSROOM I would assume that parents and teachers alike would be more open to discovering what kind of schools our children are attending. I have found hostility in some of my posts, but like I said I am a student, and I don't have the proper vocabulary at all times to get my point across!:) That and admittedly I get so worked up because I am TRYING to support my words with MORE WORDS and unfortunately I can't just SCREAM on an internet forum to get people to MAYBE listen to me or consider what I am saying. I will think about teaching in a private school, I seriously want to have more control over my classroom and the ways I teach material, not to mention support from the parents as well regarding my teaching and the lessons the children will hopefully be learning. I think that when people hear the words "alternative" especially in regards to education they get nervous! Me, I got excited when I was introduced to these methods. I believe that a constructivist classroom is the best, and I consider the early school years to be a vital part of forming self-esteem, I don't think that the traditional teaching methods treat children as individuals or let them validate their ideas and thoughts. Sorry for rambling on! Please keep checking back here on this forum and feel free to e-mail me as well...I would love to "discuss" these subjects with you further!! Thanks so much!!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2002 at 12:07AM
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Mommabear

Flowergirl:

I hope you don't take my words as hostility. Not everyone who disagrees strongly with your words is hostile. There wouldn't be much to discuss if every post was "I agree with you."

In this area I think that you do not have an "either or" choice to make. Kids need to learn to love learning by discovering it's joy. However, there are times when they need to be lead by an adult. Most classrooms I have seen (my kids are in PK2, K, and 2) use a combination of both teacher led and child led activities. Which I think is great! BTW-the Everyday Mathematics program is a great example where kids learn the number facts, but learn to discover the joy of problem solving as well. I love this non-traditional program. My kids are doing great with this curriculum.

However, I do think that the current trend toward teaching only "self esteem" in the classroom is dangerous. There are some things where the answer is either right or wrong (2+2 ALWAYS EQUALS 4). We need to get away from the idea that we can never tell a child he is wrong. That is where the adult leadership comes in. You need to explain why an answer is wrong and explore how the child came to his answer, but still be respectful of the child. This CAN be done, parents do it all the time and so can teachers. It's not easy.

Even in a private school you are going to find standardized tests. The private schools around here usually give the SAT, the public schools the SAT for grades 1/2 and the FCAT for 3-12. Charter Schools are required by law to administer the FCAT. My kids are in a Charter School.

I would love to continue these discussions, but you must agree to understand that the directness of my words is NOT
intended to be hostile.

Mommabear

    Bookmark   May 3, 2002 at 10:38AM
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FlowergirlDeb2

OK Mommabear, I apologize if I thought I was recieving hostile remarks and replies from you, or anyone for that matter. PLEASE let's keep "talking!!!!" :)I am a little defensive I suppose and I need to LIGHTEN UP!! :) FORGIVE ME, keep posting and responding because I enjoy and respect your words!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 12:57AM
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FlowergirlDeb2

:)Ready??:)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 12:54AM
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Arkansasgardenboy

Ready!!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 11:30AM
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FlowergirlDeb2

Ok, but I got nothing yet, :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2002 at 12:03AM
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