How Do They Conduct Class: A Student Centered Approach

An idea I really enjoyed from the chapter, was the idea of meeting students where they are in their learning. Starting with what students know, or think they know about a subject, and then slowly expanding that can help students not only relate the material they’re learning back to their own lives, but it can also make difficult subjects easier to understand. Rather than starting with some huge unknown that will leave students overwhelmed, beginning with something students care about or are passionate about will make them more engaged with the material. This helps students put complex ideas or concepts into their own words first and then gradually connecting it with more complex problems, theories, ideas, etc. Doing this makes assignments more than just a requirement students have to get through. Instead, schoolwork becomes something they can care about and use to better understand their own lives.

Along this same vein, is the idea that this learning style helps students build an understanding of the subject or material rather just performing the required tasks for the class. One point the chapter made is how some teachers have the “guess what’s on my mind” method of teaching. This style of teaching causes students’ work to just copy or mimic whatever the professor gives them in class. They become smaller versions of their teacher because they’re more worried about just doing the assignment correctly in the way the teacher wants. Many students will lose their academic and personal identity in class because they are terrified of getting the wrong answer. This type of teacher expects students to be able to read their minds, which removes students ability to bring their own life experiences, passions, and ideas to the classroom.

Lastly, the chapter mentions learning that meets students where they are at gives them more control over their own education while also providing a place for them to make mistakes without fear of failure. Allowing students to fail and receive feedback in advance and separate from any judgement can help them feel more comfortable going the extra mile in their schoolwork. Students who feel like they can experiment in their work but not be judged if it doesn’t go right, are more likely to care about the work they’re doing. If they don’t have to worry about the grade, they can focus on the learning aspect of the assignment.

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