Learner-centered teaching: Why it has not yet happened

why not

Research shows that learning from learner-centered instruction¬†trumps learning from traditional “teacher-centered” teaching. Then, why has not all teaching transformed to learner-centered (aka facilitative) teaching? Answer: ¬†the teacher does not want to change. Why?

1. Teachers like being the center of action in the classroom
We feel a great sense of accomplishment when we do what we feel we are good at: telling great stories, being funny, explaining in an engaging manner etc. The relevance of teacher’s ego-stroking should not be underestimated.

2. Facilitative teacher feels less glamorous – even less imporant
Is learner-centered teaching less glamorous or less important? Research shows otherwise. But just for argument’s sake even if we are the center of teaching, we cannot guarantee learning happens: the student is in full control of that! A teacher cannot learn for a student. Students control the most important part of the educational experience anyway.

3. Developed co-dependency and psychological benefits
In teacher-centered teaching interdependent student-teacher relationships can become entangled. The student “enjoys” freedom from responsibility. It is “easier” if the teacher decides everything. The teacher ¬†benefits from teacher-centered instruction because now things are under full control, teaching is fully predictable and the teacher feels important making choises for others.

4. Learner-centered teaching is more difficult than teacher-centered teaching
Learner-centered teaching is:

  • a less scripted way of teaching
  • a somewhat messy way of teaching. Learner confusion becomes more visible.
  • prone to student resistance; students have to work harder and take more responsibility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *