Saturday, July 6, 2013

Discussion Question: Student vs. Teacher Centered Classroom?

So, I am a little old-school and I had some amazing professors in college who could hold hundreds of students spell-bound for 60-90 minutes on a regular basis.  They used a lot of great visual aids, but the class was all about listening to them and taking notes.  I can still remember the amazing lessons that I learned from them over 15 years ago.  I have found that I have tried to model this style with some success.

My dilemma is that today's educational buzz word (or concept) or the new panaceia  for learning is student centered learning where teachers give a little context, provide a lot of resources, and then turn students loose to work on projects, group assignments, self paced research, etc.  The teacher then wanders the room answering questions and keeping students on task.

I must also add that taking EDTECH has not helped my insecurities regarding my preferred teaching style.  While EDTECH allows for and encourages great one on one interaction between teachers and students, it does not promote the traditional teacher centered lesson plan.

I believe that both approaches can be good and it is definitely not an all or nothing question.  But what is the right balance between the two?  What do you think the main strengths and weaknesses of both approaches are?


  1. I have been making this transition myself over the years. Taking classes through EDTECH has not helped me stay in the I also have to be on my toes because questions come at me from all directions and I have to be ready for all of them. I think it is more fun to teach using constructivism rather than directly teaching my subject matter.
    Jaime Piatt

  2. Jaime,

    Thanks for your reply. I like the idea of constructivism, but I find that without a good deal of contextualization and scaffolding, student centered activities can lead to confusion, misinformation, and waisted time. I think my interest in teacher centered teaching is sometimes selfish, the period goes by a lot faster for me when I am teaching. I guess I should look at it from my 35 students perspective, class might be more meaningful and enjoyable if they are more engaged.