Student-centered learning. Do you know what that really looks like?
Sometimes I feel like a lazy teacher in this student-centered world at Anastasis Academy… but that’s only because the majority of my teacher training in undergraduate (and most of my graduate) classes prepared me for a TEACHER-centered classroom.
You are the teacher. You are the deliverer of information, knowledge, skills.
As a music teacher, some of the workshops I attended helped me realize that the kids have to experience learning to gain knowledge and skills. Very few undergrad or grad classes did this.
So what does this student-centered classroom REALLY look like?
Some days, it looks pretty chaotic from an outsider’s point-of-view (actual statement from a visitor to our school).
Some days, it looks like kids working together on a project they have designed themselves.
Some days, it looks like a child excitedly running up to me, saying, “Mrs. Baldwin! Look at this! I found this really cool information about…” x,y, z.
But most of the time, it looks like kids satisfying their own curiosity without much interference from me.
I’m on the sidelines, and I love that.
Honest disclosure: it took us a while to get to this point, because even at 8-10 years of age (those are the ages of the kids I have), these kids have been programmed to look to an adult for answers. And questions. And direction. And time management. And so on. Some days are better than others. Recently, I feel like they have regressed a little bit in independence, and I have to force myself NOT to step in.
What I know in my heart, though, is these kids are developing skills that will serve them well throughout their entire lives. They are not memorizing facts provided through notes or worksheets from me. They discover… they experiment… they reflect… and they are learning to hold themselves accountable for their own learning.
The student-centered classroom is about the STUDENTS. It’s my job as their teacher to help provide an environment in which they can learn, experience, problem-solve… and then get out of their way.