Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Few Tips on Learner-Centered Approach.

Assumptions of the Learner-Centered Model

1. Learners are distinct and unique. Their distinctivenessand uniqueness must be attended to and takeninto account if learners are to engage in and takeresponsibility for their learning.

2. Learners' unique differences include their emotionalstates of mind, learning rates, learning styles, stages ofdevelopment, abilities, talents, feelings of efficacy, andother academic and nonacademic attributes and needs.These must be taken into account if all learners are tobe provided with the necessary challenges and opportunitiesfor learning and self-development.

3. Learning is a constructive process that occurs bestwhen what is being learned is relevant and meaningfulto the learner and when the learner is activelyengaged in creating his or her own knowledge andunderstanding by connecting what is being learnedwith prior knowledge and experience.

4. Learning occurs best in a positive environment, onethat contains positive interpersonal relationships andinteractions, comfort and order, and in which theleaner feels appreciated, acknowledged, respected,and validated.

5. Learning is a fundamentally natural process; learnersare naturally curious and basically interested inlearning about and mastering their world. Althoughnegative thoughts and feelings sometimes interferewith this natural inclination and must be dealt with,the learner does not need to be "fixed."

Key Characteristics of Learner-Centered Classrooms.

In learner-centered classrooms, the teacher

* Organizes learning activities around themes that aremeaningful to students.

* Provides complex and challenging learning activitiesthat promote conceptual and analytic thinking.

* Helps students develop and refine their understandingthrough critical and higher order thinking skills.

* Provides opportunities for students to choose theirown projects and work at their own pace.

* Provides opportunities for students to collaborate withpeers of different ages, cultures, and abilities, andincludes peer teaching as part of instruction.

* Uses a variety of instructional strategies and methodsto match student needs.

* Includes learning activities that are personally andculturally relevant to the students.

* Encourages shared decision making and student autonomy,and gives students increasing responsibilityfor their learning.

* Listens to and respects students' points of view.

* Monitors student progress continually and providesfeedback on individual growth and progress.

* Uses standardized and alternative forms of assessment,and allows competencies and achievement ofeducational standards to be demonstrated in a varietyof ways.

Source: McCombs, B., & Whisler, S. (1997). The Learner-centered classroom and school. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

* Uses heterogeneous grouping practices that promotecooperation, shared responsibility, and a sense ofbelonging.

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