Sunday, August 31, 2014

Teacher Centered Classrooms vs. Student Centered Classrooms

student-centered classroom
Teacher vs. Student Centered Classrooms

I'm a big fan of student centered classrooms, perhaps due to the influence of my Celta trainers and the Delta stuff I've done.  The other part of it is that studies have shown that lectures are the least effective way to transmit information and that students retain very little of that information even hours later.  In a second language, I'd guess that even less is transmitted.  Which is why I strive to create student-centered classrooms for at least 95% of any given class.

What does this mean?  It means that the students are actually engaged almost all of the time, either with some material or with each other and that I quite rarely lecture.  I try to create activities that make it easier just to actively participate, than to not.  Even discovering new information or material or vocab is possible through a process of discover rather than me just telling them.  Students compare answers with each other, instead of me always giving it to them.  The teacher is more of a guide down the path of language discovery, rather than the all-knowing guru.

In a teacher-centered classroom, the teacher is more of a performer, on stage and is talking, a lot.  Students in Korea seem to love it.  And probably for good reason!  It's actually so easy just to let all these words pass you by, passively and if no response is expected, then there is really no incentive to even actively listen.  But, it's just so ineffective and really quite useful for student's language development, which in theory is what I'm getting paid to promote.

Teacher centered language learning classrooms are just so, so wrong on so many levels and yet I hear (literally with my own ears) and get told by students of so many of my colleagues who do this.  Everyone should take the Celta!  My small rant is now done :)

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