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Transcript of Learner-Centered Teaching
Professor Weimer escorts readers along the path she took to becoming a learner-centered teacher.
"The goal of learner-centered teaching is the development of students as autonomous, self-directed, and self-regulating learners." (10)
"I also came to realize that in learner-centered classrooms teachers don't work alone. Students become learning partners." (13)
The learner-centered approach is applied if "teaching is focused on learning - what the students are doing is the central concern of the teacher." (15)
About the Author
Critical Findings Supportive of Learner-Centered Approach
Deep Learning with
the Learner-Centered Approach
A Resource Overview
by Kym Goering
by Maryellen Weimer
Deeper learning occurs when "the teacher provokes debate, uses a lot of time to question students' ideas and to develop a 'conversation' with students in lecture." (33)
Self-Directed Learners in
the Learner-Centered Approach
"Research also confirms that self-regulation is not a trait that some people have and others don't." (35) Instructors can implement ways in their classroom to increase student self-regulation. The learner-centered approach encourages this implementation.
Maryellen Weimer is a retired Professor Emeritus from Penn State's Teaching and Learning where she taught Communications courses. Author and/or editor of eight books, her second edition of
was published in 2013.
Chapter Two cont.
Reviews of Research
Students who are given power to control their learning choices and processes have increased motivation.
Active learning doesn't mean activities alone. It means students are actively reflecting, being assessed and participating in reinforcement through experiential activities.
The Teacher's Role
Teachers need to shift their focus from themselves to their students. Teaching hasn't become more learner-centered because it's a challenging avenue to navigate.
7 Principles of Facilitative Teaching
Power within the classroom needs to be redistributed with less power for the teacher and more for students.
Suggestions for Implementation
Allow students to select from a variety of assignments.
Allow students to select the participation policy for the semester.
Allow students to select
Learner-centered students develop a knowledge base and skills from content; however, they don't achieve deep learning when teachers only aim to cover content. Content can be taught in conjunction with developing learning skills.
Chapter Five cont.
Strategies for Developing Learning Skills
*Develop reading skills by using the textbook and checking-in with students to see
they are reading and if they are comprehending their reading.
*Use the institution's Learning Center to reinforce basic skills such as, test preparation and note-taking. That's what they're there for and what they're good at.
*Collaboration amongst students enlightens them in ways teachers can't.
*Enact the "Learning Question," i.e., "What did you learn...?" (135)
*Debrief exam results on a deeper level than going over wrong answers.
*Write? Right! Blogs, discussion boards, peer writing workshops.
Responsibility for Learning
"This is not my class; it is not your class; this is our class, and
we are responsible for what does and doesn't happen here." (149)
Students must be involved forming and maintaining the classroom climate. This fosters understanding that it is their room as well as the teacher's.
Characteristics of teacher/student relationships geared toward developing responsible students:
Evaluation's Purpose & Processes
"Grades motivate getting grades." (145) To derail this cycle, students should engage in the assessment process via self-assessment as well as peer assessment practices such as, review sessions, group exams and student-created exams.
Remove some of the power grades carry by diluting the stress associated with evaluations by ensuring students are properly prepared for assessments. "If one of the course objectives is developing students' abilities to apply what they've learned...it's legitimate to test their ability to do so, but only when students have had a chance to practice those application skills." (178)
Responding to Resistance
Be prepared to entertain resistance from students and colleagues. Hear them out and proceed slowly. Address resistance with lots of communication in a no-nonsense delivery:
"Yes, you are right. What I'm asking is more work for students. It would be easier if I just gave you examples, but how does that prepare you for the future, when I won't be there and you need examples?" (209)
"No, I'm not letting you form your own groups. In most professional contexts, we don't get to pick the people we work with. We are assigned to teams, groups, and committees and expected to work with people we don't know and sometimes we don't even like." (209)
A Developmental Approach
Teachers "who have tried to move students in the direction of autonomy and self-regulation can tell you four things about the process. It's not automatic, it doesn't happen at a predictable pace, it's not linear, and it doesn't happen quickly." (219) When beginning with the learner-centered approach, take it slow, be patient and balance the needs of all parties in the course.
Contains a sample syllabus and learning log entries for Weimer's Speech Communications 100 class.
Contains resources for those interested in developing students' learning skills.
1 - Let students do more tasks, i.e., leading discussions.
2 - Do less telling, i.e.,direct students to sources for answers to questions.
3 - Improve instructional design by implementing discipline specific real-world assignments.
4 - Remember what it's like to be a student.
5 - Encourage students to work and learn through collaborative practices.
6 - Create a learning climate within the classroom.
7 - Give students the responsibility of evaluating their own work as well as their peers'.
Cheers to many future class sessions where students unpack, push back, revisit, riff and reflect!