Student-centered learning puts more responsibility on the learners for their own learning. It involves students in more decision-making processes, and they learn by doing, rather than Just by listening and performing meaningless tasks which are often not in context and therefore ‘unreal’ to them. Because learning becomes more cause it is personalized, and relevant to the students’ own lives and experiences, it brings language ‘alive’, and makes it relevant to the real world. It is nothing new. Many of our teaching methods are already student-centered.
When planning more student-centered lessons it is useful to remember the following: Ask don’t tell: always try to elicit information, ideas, and answers from the students. They are not empty vessels waiting to be filled by the all-knowing teacher. They have knowledge and experiences of life, as well as language which can contribute greatly o the learning process. The more they contribute, the more they are likely to remember. We should never underestimate the ability of our students. Focus on students’ experience and interests: if the teacher chooses the topic, or Just follows the course book, the students may not be interested.
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If, however, teachers use the course book as a base for then moving on to practice activities relating to the students’ personal lives and areas of interest and experience (personalization), the students are more likely to become involved in the lesson, thereby remembering more. Communication over accuracy: the main reason for students learning a language is to be able to communicate with other speakers of that language. In reality they will probably speak English with more non-native speakers from the region than with native speakers, and the ultimate goal is to be able to understand and respond to each other. Students therefore need opportunities to practice communicating in English without the constant fear of making mistakes hanging over them. If you feel the need to correct their mistakes, don’t interrupt their conversations, make notes and give feedback later.
Learning by doing: the more actively involved students are in their own learning, the more they are likely to remember what they learn. Students have choices and make decisions about learning. Group work requires negotiation and decision making – working together towards a common goal. Focus on confidence building for real-world skills. By developing communicative competence, language again becomes more ‘real’ and part of the students’ lives. Encourage interest in English used in the real world. By using authentic materials familiar to the students (magazines, the internet, video, television, letters etc. , students are constantly in touch with the language in an absorbing way. Tasks are open-ended, I. E. Here is more than one possible answer. Traditional grammar based tasks are either right or wrong and test only one skill at a time. They are generally unimaginative, often in the form of multiple choice answers (so the students have a 25% chance of being right without actually knowing the answer at all) and totally divorced from ‘real world’ situations. Open-ended tasks are wider in their focus and involve a variety of language skills. High exposure to English through the use of authentic materials again: students may be set homework involving research undertaken using the internet or other English language reference sources. Students learn more than language.
They are also encouraged to think critically and develop problem-solving skills through more creative tasks and group work. CREATING MATERIALS: traditional vs…. Student-centered approaches When creating student-centered materials for using in class, consider the following: are the Do the students have some choice? Will the students really USE language to communicate? Is the task is open-ended (I. E. There is more than one possible answer / outcome)? Remember: Think of the final product / outcome of the task and work backwards. Consider the aims, procedures, resources and roles. Make a TASK not an EXERCISE. Don’t underestimate what students can do. Example 1: A traditional approach: 1 .
Students think about their hobbies. Students try to guess each other’s hobbies. 2. Listening passage with 6 speakers talking about their hobbies. Students listen and match hobbies with speakers’ names. A student-centered approach: 1 . Students think of their hobbies. 2. In groups of 6, students make a script of a conversation where they talk together about their hobbies. 3. Students make a tape (6 tapes in total) and a matching exercise. 4. Students swap tapes between groups, listen and match hobbies with speaker names. 5. They listen again and complete a feedback form. 6. Students receive feedback from peers and the teacher. Example 2: Another traditional example: 1.
Students read about some problems e. G. “John is too fat. What should he do? ” 2. Students make suggestions for solutions. Another student-centered example 1. In groups, students think of 2 health problems. They consult the teacher concerning how to write the problems in English. 2. Students make posters of their lath problems. 3. Poster exhibition. Other students must write 2 solutions on posters. No 2 solutions on one poster can be the same. 4. After the exhibition, each group chooses the best 2 solutions written on their poster, and thinks of 2 reasons why each of these solutions is best. 5. The teacher teaches some presentation skills. 6.