Making lessons student-centred
Reflective Diary submitted by Laura.
This assignment aims to discuss the ways EFL teachers can make their lessons student-centred. I will discuss this topic using my own experience as well as the knowledge and experience of others who have wrote about the subject.
“I want to help you in ways which are effective for you and match your needs” (Moore, 1999).
Before I go on to discuss ‘student-centred learning’ (SCL), it is beneficial to have an understanding of ‘teacher-centred learning’ (TCL), in order for a direct comparison to be made. In regards to teacher-centred learning, this is the more traditional method of teaching where the teacher acts as the centre of knowledge. They have full control over the students learning process and it is up to them what information or learning material each student can access. Overall, the TCL method of teaching views each student as a blank page, simply waiting to be filled in; viewing learning as an additive process (Kelly, 2006).
After describing the TCL method of teaching, a comparison can now be made with the SCL method of teaching. SCL contradicts the traditional TCL method by refusing to view students as ‘blank pages’ waiting to be filled. “They come with their own perceptual frameworks (Erikson, 1984), they learn in different ways, and they construct their own meaning by talking, listening, writing, reading, and reflecting on content, ideas, issues and concerns” (Meyers and Jones, 1993). Overall, SCL gives students greater control throughout the whole learning process; letting them decide what they want to learn, how it is learned and what aspects will be assessed.
In my experience as an EFL teacher in Valencia, I have only taught one on one classes using scripted material. Therefore, the scripted material has made it more difficult for me to make each lesson student-centred. The traditional job of a teacher is to ‘teach’, indicating that during each 40 minute lesson, the teacher is the focal point and does most of the talking. However, I have found it particularly easy to make the student the focal point of the classroom experience. Especially when teaching the exam practice material and the BBC lessons. During these lessons, the student is given the opportunity to demonstrate what they know about a particular topic and discuss intellectual subjects in a lot of detail; an overall higher level control of the learning process whilst still practicing their English language skills and learning throughout.
I have also taught students who are learning English for their own personal use, rather than for University etc. In this case, the students prefer to practice general conversation instead of spending the first 10 minutes reading aloud an article to me. If this is the case, I allow the student to skip the reading section or only read half so that they can spend time engaging in conversation and once again, giving them greater control of the learning process.
Many things need to be taken in to consideration before an effective SCL classroom can be achieved; most importantly EFL teacher should spend a large amount of time collecting information about each individual student and incorporating it into the lesson plan. Overall, I believe the student-centred learning process is a highly beneficial way of teaching EFL students as it allows them to take greater responsibility for their own learning. I am certain that no one would truly deny themselves the chance to actively participate in something, such as their own learning, that could have such a huge impact on their futures.
- Erikson, S.C. (1984). The essence of good teaching: Helping students learn and remember what they learn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Kelly, D. (2006). Realising Student-Centred Learning in the EFL Classroom. 7 (1). 105-112.
- Meyers, C., & Jones, B. (1993). Promoting active learning: Strategies for the college classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Moore, A. (1999). Teaching Multicultured Students: Culturism and Anti-culturism in School. London and New York. Farmer Press.