Child centred learning or student-centred learning (SCL) might seem to contradict the original goals of education- after all, shouldn’t learning be centred around the standards of teachers? No, it shouldn’t!
The main difference with SCL is that the children enjoy learning, which makes them more likely to make progress.
Constantly being told what to do is unsurprisingly irritating for children, and most of the time this is what happens. Choosing what to learn gives children more control over their lives and means they are more willing to cooperate and learning stops being so boring. SCL comes with countless other advantages for the child, such as an understanding of their own learning style and collaboration with other students, which prepares them for their future adult lives.
And SCL doesn’t just cater to the needs of children- teachers benefit too! When children are happier to be learning and don’t see it as a chore, their behaviour in the classroom sees a rapid improvement. This results in less time wasted for both teacher and student, and more focus on learning. In addition, rather than constantly repeating the same information to their pupils, teachers can look forward to students making connections between learned material and their daily lives, as they are using a learner centred approach to education. Greater focus means more fulfilled students and educators.
Of course, SCL also means a better relationship between a child and their parents. Countless parents spend hours each week fighting with their children over homework, to the extent that they feel like spending a nice time together as a family is out of the question. Recent studies have found that students are receiving up to 3 times too much homework, and that some primary school homework doesn’t even benefit children. With SCL, the “homework” might either become a thing of the past or turn into something fun and enjoyable that involves a child’s hobbies. Parents will be able to help their child with their schoolwork in a much more meaningful way, and relationships will quickly improve.
Happier children, a more focused classroom environment and better parent-child relationships- who wouldn’t want to try SCL? Nevertheless, many teachers worry about meeting learning standards and the response from governments amongst other things. These are natural concerns, but studies show that SCL could be a better way for students of all backgrounds to learn. For example, a 2015 analysis showed that schools that use a learner-centred curriculum had better student-teacher relationships, academic achievement and engagement from students. Not to mention, a 2012 study showed a connection between SCL, improved social skills and academic achievements. Despite initial doubts from principals and headteachers, the results are sure to speak for themselves.
So why not? For years, it has been proven that children learn better when they’re playing and having fun. An educational approach that aims to work with, rather than against, a child’s brain and preferences will undoubtedly create drastic improvement in all areas of education. Let children love learning!