Student Centred Learning, Some questions????

At our home of learning, student centred learning which

– provides students with greater autonomy and choice of subject matter and pace of study:

– involves students in more decision‐making processes

– requires extensive use of digital technologies; and,

– results in memorable experiences where students ‘learn by doing’ with relevance to the real world.


The above should then translate into core questions you ask yourself and others when trying to measure the worth and value of a learning activity. Questions such as:

          Does this activity provide greater choice of subject matter? 

          Does this activity provide a choice of the pace of their study? 

          How are you (the teacher) involving students in more decision‐making processes? 

          Have you pursued the extensive use of digital technologies for this task?

          Will this be a ‘memorable experience’ for the students?




4 thoughts on “Student Centred Learning, Some questions????

  1. I think those are all excellent questions, Greg. If teachers asked those questions of themselves on a regular basis, learning would be far more dynamic.There’s a resonance with your comments on my blog this morning, though, about purposes and evidence: these questions are about means, not about ends. The goals of learning – what it is we want students to know and be able to do – are also important, and while a focus on ’21st century skills’ is necessary, it is (IMO) not sufficient. Students need to learn *something* – not necessarily ‘content’ (although the rhetoric about how rapidly content becomes obsolete is often overblown) – but learning *only* skills is deficient in my view.To some extent that is pre-specified by syllabus documents, but I guess my point is that there needs to be questioning of the ends as well as the means for a truly broad and dynamic approach.

  2. Leadership has been the topic of discussion, many books, and expenditure in endeavours in and out of education for the best part of the last 20 years.Maybe:How does this learning build my leadership capacity/capital/skills?I can’t disagree with David. (Often try…) Though I don’t share his fatigue with the reformation of the word ‘content’ and its useage, I do agree that the student needs both a set of skills, and a context in which to understand those skills.The example I witnessed yesterday with @BiancaH80’s workshop in inquiry/project based learning was this: Students don’t need to know how to write essays. They need to become essayists. An essayist is an important contributor to society, and is not primarily employed to regurgitate ideas for a teacher. Naturally, an essayist writes essays. But the language frames their role, not just their final product.The National Curriculum in NSW (for English) frames Assessment using 3 new phrases: Assessment For Learning, Assessment As Learning, and Assessment Of Learning.The assessment as learning advice from BOS is:ASSESSMENT AS LEARNINGAssessment as learning occurs when students are their own assessors. Students monitor their own learning, ask questions and use a range of strategies to decide what they know and can do, and how to use assessment for new learning.Assessment as learning:encourages students to take responsibility for their own learningrequires students to ask questions about their learninginvolves teachers and students creating learning goals to encourage growth and developmentprovides ways for students to use formal and informal feedback and self-assessment to help them understand the next steps in learningencourages peer assessment, self-assessment and reflection.These statements are very similar to the questions in Greg’s Blog.As questions, they would be:How are students being asked to be their own assessors?How are students monitoring their own learning?How are students identifying their own new learning goals?How are students being encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning?How are students being required to ask questions about their learning?How are students and teachers working together to create learning goals encourage growth and development?How are students giving and receiving formal and informal feedback and self-assessment to help them understand the next steps in learning?How are students encouraged to give and receive peer assessment, self-assessment and reflection?The rest of the document reads as complementary to the premise of student centred education. Outcome 9 in the English Syllabus is pretty much THE student centered outcome.

  3. I think your questions are a good place to start Greg. I also agree with Carl & David – I especially like Carl’s reference to Outcome 9 in the new K-10 English Syllabus – it really ensures that English classes are leading this sense of reflection and placing the students at the centre of their learning. I suppose another comment I could make would be to consider what questions you won’t hear in a student centred classroom – for instance ‘Why are we doing this?’ will never be heard in a classroom. What can we do to ensure the above question is never asked? Making learning explicit can certainly be achieved in a student centred classroom – that’s our role, to help in this process.

  4. Hi Greg. Some good food for thought there… couple of thoughts (for what they’re worth!):Extensive use of digital technologies? I’m a big believer in relevant and meaningful use of technology, not extensive use per se. Maybe questions around: If tech being used, to what purpose? How will it enhance student learning? What do my students want to/need to know and in what ways can tech help (or hinder) this? How they develop skills in critical/judicious use of tech through this task (and students making decisions about relevance/critical use of tech)? My other comment was, as per Carl’s, centred on student awareness of their own learning, metacognition, self-assessment/peer-assessment/assessment "as" learning – and all that comes with allowing that feedback loop to be meaningful for teacher and student.Thanks!

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