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Which method of teaching is better for an EFL lesson- teacher centred approach or student -centred approach?

Diary submitted by Nicoletta, Valencia, 2020

Teacher- centred learning is a traditional approach which has been used for many years, all around the globe, it essentially focuses on the teacher functioning as a lecturer, presenting the information to the students and therefore the students learn passively. Whereas the student -centred approach is more of an up -coming and modern method which still holds the teacher as the authoritative figure in the classroom however, they function as more of facilitator consequently meaning that the students hold more of an active approach towards their own learning. It is evident that there are pros and cons to both approaches, in this reflective diary I am going to explore which method of teaching is best for an EFL lesson. 

Firstly, a positive aspect of teacher- centred learning is how the classroom is kept orderly, the students are quiet, there is little disruption from the students meaning that the lesson can follow through with the completion of activities and key information which is meant to be learnt that lesson. This approach would work incredibly well as a ‘recap lesson’ for students who have exams or assignments and need to consume the most vital pieces of information. However, the drawbacks to this approach is that the students do not have the opportunity to develop their team working as well as their communication skills, the lack of collaboration could impede the students learning as they are not receiving others ideas or points of views that could potentially develop their own learning. “Teacher-centered education doesn’t allow students to express themselves and direct their own learning”. 11Another critical drawback is that if the information is not presented in an interesting manner, students will immediately switch off and become disinterested which in turn could cause more disruption in the classroom. 

On the other hand, an advantage to the student -centred approach is the collaborative sentiment that it holds, according to Joseph Lathan, an Academic Director “Guide on the Side” style, the student-centred model builds in more equanimity between the teacher and student, with each playing a role in the learning process.” The collaborative process of the lesson can spark a lot more excitement and interest to the lesson as there’s a chance for students to engage and interact with others. Nevertheless, the drawbacks to this method is that it may not work for more independent learners as information may be missed. 

In conclusion, it is important to take into account that both of these learning approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.

In terms of which teaching method is best for an EFL class I believe that there should be a mix between the two, to accommodate independent learners as well as collaborative learners.

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