The Student-Centered Learning (SCL) proposed by O’Neill and Mcmahon (2005)and IOWA Care looks to be an ideal class set-up. According to O’Neill & McMahon (2005), SCL has been linked to flexible, experiential, and self-directed learning. Its main focus is the student and what the students’ needs to do to achieve learning. They both suggests that one can practice SCL through “empowering student, make the student active (giving classroom fieldwork and exercises), and give high-level of choice on the part of students”.
First, let me ask this question: How can we know that SCL is being applied inside the classroom? In the video (Peer Tree Education, 2013) that I have watched, one can tell that a class is student-centered by knowing first who does much of the job inside the class;is it the teacher or the student? If the content/subject being taught is relevant in student’s life, then one say that it is student-centered. It is also student-centered when the teacher does less talking and allows the student to be heard in the classroom more than the teacher. If a teacher gives project-based work/research to students then it is considered to be student-centered learning as this allows the student to be involved in certain roles/task are being delegated in each one of them. Actually, I even categorized online learning as student-centered since most of the job like researching is part in our daily activity as an online student.
Let me just include in this journal the five (5) attributes od SCL according to IOWA Care (2013):
1. Construction of learning
As defined by IOWA(2013), Construction of learning is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that by reflecting on our own experiences, we construct our understanding of the world we live in. Having known this definition, how can I incorporate this philosophy in my teaching lessons? I believe by asking questions to students that will trigger student’s prior knowledge would inform my good judgment on how I am going to approach the subject that I will be teaching and will give me insights on what strategies I will be using to further improve the comprehension knowledge of my students.
2. Collaborative learning
Pariz (1999, cited in IOWA Care, 2013) defined collaboration as a philosophy of interaction and personal lifestyle where individuals are responsible for their actions, including learning, and they respect the abilities and contributions of their peers. Clearly, this is all about the interaction that is happening in between the teacher and the student on how they were able to effectively reach a common goal without compromising the learning aspect. One good example of collaborative learning is giving the student a research project that will allow them to do a research that interest them and the teacher will act as mentor/facilitator/guide to students that will further improve said project. This type of learning will also allow the student to interact with other students who can be of help to their project as pieces of information from one another can freely flow. If there are arguments that may arise, the teacher will act as an intermediary to sort out the problem. As collaborative focuses on the potential aspect fo the student’s fundamental aspect, engagement, knowledge transfer and success in the future (Marzano, Gaddy, and Dean, 2000,cited in IOWA Care ,2013).
According to National Research Council, developing metacognitive strategies and learning to teach those strategies in a classroom environment should be the standard feature and in the school’s curriculum. I believe I can apply such practice by giving my student open-ended question/item that will give me insights into learner’s needs and understanding. An example of this would be, giving my students “wrong solutions” and ask my student to come up an explanation on how they can improve the answer. By incorporating such technique, one can definitely develop one’s cognitive knowledge and skills.
4. Educator/Student partnership
Teachers and students work closely together and engage in scientific methods (IOWA Care, 2013). This kind of partnership is somehow closely related to collaborative learning (interaction between the teacher and the student). However, this time, the teacher is now considered to be a member of the team, not only as a facilitator ,guidance, manager, and director. In a research project, the teacher can also suggest his/her ideas and must respect the student’s opinion if this somehow opposes his/her views.
5. Authentic Assessment
According to IOWA (2013) care continuous cycle of student feedbacks through various forms of assessment must also be given importance as this will enable the teacher to tailor instructions to individuals need. I believe this can be practice by providing real-time feedback to students as soon as the activities in the classroom are done. By doing this the teacher can analyze what must need to improve on and provide solutions as soon as it is detected.
At this very moment, I believe on SCL advocacy and that is empowering the student’s voice. The opportunity that the student’s voice is finally being heard is in indeed a revolutionary experience. One cannot really underestimate student’s voice for we never know what they can do or still achieve in learning. I believe that with teacher’s support in this kind of set-up, SCL would become not only remain as an idealistic approach but realistic as well. Given all these benefits, I can’t wait to incorporate all these teaching principles under SCL. I believe that by empowering student’s voice, you are also empowering yourself as a teacher!
Iowa CORE. (2013). Literature Review: Student-centered classrooms. Available at http://www.gwaea.org/iowacorecurriculum/docs/StudCentClass_LitReview.pdf
O’Neill, G., and McMahon, T. (2005). Student-centered learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers?. In Emerging Issues in the Practice of University Learning and Teaching. O’Neill, G., Moore, S., McMullin, B. (Eds). Dublin:AISHE. Available at http://www.jfn.ac.lk/OBESCL/MOHE/SCL-articles/Academic-articles/14.SCL-2.pdf
Youtube (2013). Peer Tree Education, Inc.: Student-Centered Learning (21st Century Education). Available at