Teachers as co-learners in class

I refer to ‘Shift to student-centred learning’ (StarEducate, March 19). The paradigm shift from traditional teaching methods by focusing on how students learn instead of how teachers teach is called learner-centred teaching.

Educators need to question themselves on “How can I improve my students’ learning?” instead of the oft-asked question “How can I improve my teaching?”

Learner-centred teaching is based on the assumption that students are capable learners who will blossom as power shifts to a more egalitarian classroom. It allows students to critically think about questions using content not just as a collection of isolated facts.

Teachers are like knowledge explorers and students are responsible for their own learning and assessment. This form of education instruction enables educators to take on the role of co-learners. They help in active learning, assist in problem-based learning and, more generally, a thoughtful understanding of what the best teachers actually do in classrooms.

Educators now need to foster critical thinking, have a strong trust in students, and become life-long learners themselves.

Activities expected of the learner-centred teaching is the exchanging of lecture notes and multi-bullet point slides for a more active, engaging, collaborative style of teaching.

Learner-centred teaching involves connecting with knowledge and students at the same time. Educators must be able to learn and understand the way their students understand and analyse.

Students become lifelong learners by developing their critical thinking skills and self-management abilities. By doing so, they are more likely to have success in the “real world” than if they were merely test takers.

Learner-centred teaching requires us to progress from “doing something to students” (teaching) to “doing something with students” (teaching and learning) and to “being with students” (learning).

Utilising small work groups, personal work portfolios, and student-driven classroom experiences, and taking responsibility for their learning are among the measures called for.

A key in understanding the impact of a learner-centred model is seeing through the eyes of students. Collecting data from the students’ perspective is consistent with this approach.

The model will require students to answer and even formulate questions of their own, solve problems, and even have brainstorming sessions during classes.

Educators will have to trust their students with gathering and evaluating knowledge and information on their own. They will have less teaching to carry out as they become facilitators and evaluators. Managing this shift will be challenging indeed.


Kuala Lumpur


Let's Hear It, c/o Education Editor, Menara Star, No. 15 Jalan 16/11, Section 16, 46350 Petaling Jaya. e-mail: educate@thestar.com.my 


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