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What to consider when creating a student-centered classroom
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014 13:26 PM

Educators and administrators continue to seek better and more efficient ways to create a fertile ground for student learning. They utilize multiple instructional techniques and various types of educational software to help learners comprehend material. Another influential movement that helps teachers implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) uses the student-centered classroom structure to generate higher levels of achievement. Here are a few factors to consider: 

Changing the way teachers look at student-centered classrooms
Effective educators understand the way their students think, learn and behave. In order for teachers to have a student-centered classroom, they need to be able to trust their students. Alan November, a scholar and education technology consultant, posed a simple yet understated question to other teachers: What do you do in your classroom that your students can do for themselves?

At first glance, this question might seem relative to learning levels, disabilities, subject matter and other factors. However, what it really does is force educators to think of activities, questions and projects that help students think for themselves. By asking educators what class activities and projects they can turn over and entrust to their students, November is asking teachers to help students feel some level of responsibility for their education. The hope is that this will inspire students to lead a life full of the desire to learn with or without the assistance of academic institutions. 

Tips for creating a student-centered classroom
Effective educators immerse students in projects and activities that engage and interest them. Consider assigning various lengthy ongoing projects. Providing relevant options that students can explore helps promote the mastery of subject matter and gives them the chance to consistently demonstrate what they have learned. Educators will have a great number of opportunities to meet CCSS objectives with well-planned and thought-provoking projects.

Teachers should also consider reducing homework and opt to give their students more engaging in-class activities. Measuring achievement through test scores and grades creates a system that is controlled solely by the teacher. In a student-centered classroom, this instructor-focused structure cannot thrive. Replacing homework with small-group activities complements the concept of giving students the opportunity to be responsible for what they learn and how they absorb that information. Consider integrating web tools and educational or instructional software into curricula to help keep the interest of your students and make them more productive in class. Offering the students in your classroom autonomy breeds the desire to learn for the sake of learning, which is the root of critical thinking and true comprehension of subject matter.