The introduction of a student-centered or learner-centered approach to learning can be challenging for both students and instructors. While courseware can help optimize student-centered learning, there can still be pushback at the outset. Here are 7 articles that offer realistic, practical tips on how to navigate resistance to the learner-centered approach.
Introducing Student-Centered Learning to Your Class
How ‘Deprogramming’ Kids from How to ‘Do School’ Could Improve Learning by Katrina Schwartz
Schwartz reports on how physics instructor Adam Holman turned a traditional classroom into one where the student was at the center. Holman had to overcome student resistance to taking responsibility for their own learning. He also acknowledges that instructors have difficulties as well. Schwartz offers Holman’s excellent reading list to support why and how to make the transition to a learner-centered strategy. Two of those articles are featured among the 6 annotated below.
Responding to Resistance to the Learner-Centered Approach
Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centered Instruction by Richard M. Felder and Rebecca Brent
Brent and Felder review many of the common reactions of students and instructors to introducing student-centered learning. They focus on faculty concerns such as how to minimize the number of students who take credit for group work in which they did not participate and how to cover your syllabus using learner-centered activities.
Brent and Felder admit that student-centered instruction (SCI) is not perfect, but in the end, it is the best teaching strategy. Students may complain about the change, but they definitely benefit from it. Some complaints are even about positive aspects—one student complained in his “list of dislikes” that the teacher made him think!
Davidson discusses the difficulties students may have with a learner-centered approach. She offers 5 strategies for how to help “the student who hates student-centered learning.”
Ten Strategies for Getting Students to Take Responsibility for their Learning by Sara Jane Coffman
Coffman offers sound principles of a learner-centered classroom including “model higher cognitive skills” and “don’t try to save your students.”
Sermons for Grumpy Campers by Richard M. Felder
In this article, Felder scripts responses to student objections such as
Those group activities in class are a waste of time. I’m paying tuition for you to teach me, not to trade ideas with students who don’t know any more than I do!
Felder’s sample “mini-sermons” are directed at each objection and explain in different ways why student-centered learning is better than traditional instructional models.
Technology Tips for Student-Centered Learning
Shibley, an advocate for blended learning, discusses how to get students active in their own learning through the use of technology in assignments.