Learner Centered Teaching

A Presentation for Fort Sill.

Developed by Professor Terry Doyle Ferris State University

Learner Centered Teaching

Learner Centered Teaching

Learner Centered Teaching

This can be Learner Centered Teaching

Definition of Learner Centered Teaching
• A Question--Given the context of the learning situation
( # of students, time of day, place, difficulty of material)

will this teaching action optimize my students’ opportunity to learn?

What Does it Mean to Have Learned?

Learning is when Neurons Wire
• Learning is a change in the neuronpatterns of the brain.
(Ratey, 2002)

www.virtualgalen.com/.../ neurons-small.jpg

Use it or Lose it
• When new material is not practiced the new dendrite tissue is reabsorbed by the brain to conserve resources. (Dr. Janet Zadina)

Teachers’ Definition of Learning?
Learning is the ability to use information after significant periods of disuse and it is the ability to use the information to solve problems that arise in a context different (if only slightly) from the context in which the information was originally taught.
(Robert Bjork, Memories and Metamemories, 1994)

Learning Activates the Reward Pathway
Real life, meaningful, and authentic learning activates the reward pathway in the brain.

(Dr. Janet Zadina, 2010)

Basic Principle of Learner Centered Instruction

It is the one who does the work who does the learning

Question--What do we want our students to learn?
What would make us happy (from all that we taught—the skills, content and behaviors) that our students remembered and could use one year after they finished our class?

Explaining Why Learner Centered Teaching is in our Students’ Best Interest

Students Need to Know WHY We Want them to do the Work
A vital aspect of being a learner centered teacher is to remember teaching is, in most ways, no different than any other human to human interaction–

If I don’t know WHY you want me to work on a project or learn a concept or if I can’t see how taking on a certain task has some benefit to me I am hesitant to do it.

Key Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT

1. The best answer to WHY we have changed to a learner-centered practice is this is where the research has led us.

Key Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT
Readiness for Careers

The rationale for teaching the learning skills, behaviors, attitudes and critical thinking strategies that are now part of learner centered college courses is that our students will need these skills to be successful in their careers.

As students understand this their buy in to LCT will be greater.

Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT

Preparation for Life Long Learning(LLL)

One of the significant changes our students need to accept is that college is no longer their terminal educational experience.

Preparation for Life Long Learning(LLL)
• Our responsibility as college educators is to prepare our students to be life long learners. • Many of the LCT actions we take are done to develop LLL skills.

Rationales for Explaining the Change to LCT For Example One of the reasons students are asked to take on more responsibility for their own learning is because they will be responsible for it the rest of their lives.

Why do Students Resist LCT?
1.Old habits die hard
Students’ learning expectations are based on strongly formed habits learned through twelve or more years of teachercentered instruction.

High schools remain teacher-centered institutions
• “Despite the efforts of many, the organization and structure of most comprehensive high schools look very similar to those of high schools of generations ago. High schools have stood still amidst a maelstrom of educational and economic change swirling around them.”
(The National Commission on the High School Senior Year, p.20).

Learning is not a top reason students give for attending college

Many first-year college students are sick to death of school by age eighteen and see college as just the last hurdle to be (Leamnson 1999, crossed.

Students don’t like taking learning risks
• “as we grow older we
develop a great tendency to hide from failure.” (Tagg,
2003 p. 54).

LCT doesn’t resemble what students’ think of as school
By age 18, our students have spent 70% of their waking lives in school (Leamnson,

Each school year looks a great deal like the year before.

Students don’t want to give more effort and LCT requires it.
“ in the competition of
the classroom, students prefer to be seen by others as succeeding through ability rather than through effort.” OR If I have to work at it I must not be very smart
K. Patricia Cross in her 2001 talk Motivation Er… will that be on the test?

Students’ mindsets about learning make adapting to LCT more difficult
Thousands of students each semester pay tuition to take courses in subject areas they believe they cannot learn. This strange scenario occurs because of the fixed mindset these students have developed about learning a particular subject.
(Carol Dweck, 2006)

Many students follow the path of least resistance in their learning. Taking the path of least resistance often results in minimalist learning.

Students adhere to the philosophy: “What is the least I have to do to get the grade that I need.”

Becoming a More Learner Centered Teacher

1. LCT Means Sharing Power with Students Having choices in what and how to learn and having some control over the learning process are key elements of LCT.
(Weimer, 2002)

Having Some Say
Having some say in what happens in the learning process is intricately tied to a willingness to engage in the activity.
(James Zull, Art of Changing the Brain, 2003)

LCT Means Sharing Power with Students
Getting students to accept the responsibilities that comes with choice and control is an authentic expression of how the work place and the home place operate.

Who Makes the Decision?
Teacher Students Together NA

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Course Textbook Number of exams When in the course exams will be given Attendance policy Late work policy Late for class policy Course learning outcomes Office hours Due dates for major papers Teaching methods/approaches How groups are formed Topic of writing or research projects Grading scale Discussion guidelines for large or small group discussions Rubrics for evaluation of self or peers’ work If rewriting of papers will be allowed If retesting will be allowed

2. Assessing for Long Term learning
Using the kinds of assessments that drive long term learning is one key to a learner centered process
Our jobs are not to exercise our students’ working memories
www.normanrockwellvt.com/ Plates/Cramming.JPG

Assessing for Long Term learning
Examples 1. Cumulative Exams 2. Expecting to see the improvements that were indicated on previously assessed work

Assessing for Long Term learning
Examples 3. Rewriting 4. Retesting 5. Practice quizzing

3. Using Lecture Effectively
Definition of Lecture Talking with students about things they can’t learn on their own.

4. Let Students do the Talking
The quickest way to end a classroom discussion is for the teacher to start talking.

5. Make Students Practice
If readings are assigned insist on annotation and a summary.

6. Classroom Presentations
Before assigning students to do presentations—teach them how to do a professional presentation.

Medina, John, Brain Rules, Pear Press, 2008 Sylwester, R. A Celebration of Neurons An Educator’s Guide to the Human Brain, ASCD:1995

Sprenger, M. Learning and Memory The Brain in Action by, ASCD, 1999
.How People Learn by National Research Council editor John Bransford, National Research Council, 2000 Goldberg, E. The Executive Brain Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind ,Oxford University Press: 2001 Ratey, J. MD. Spark: The New Science of Exercise and the Brain, 2008, Little Brown Ratey, J. MD :A User’s Guide to the Brain, Pantheon Books: New York, 2001 Zull, James. The Art of Changing the Brain.2002, Stylus: Virginia

Weimer, Maryellen. Learner-Centered Teaching. Jossey-Bass, 2002
Sousa, David. How the Brain Learns(Corwin Press, Inc., 1998), Long-Lasting Novelty-Induced Neuronal Reverberation during Slow-Wave Sleep in Multiple Forebrain AreasSidarta Ribeiro,Damien Gervasoni, Ernesto S. Soares, Yi Zhou, Shih-Chieh Lin, Janaina Pantoja, Michael Lavine, Miguel A. L. Nicolelis , 2004 (Foerde, K., Knowlton, Barbara J., and Poldrack, Russell A. 2006. Modulation of competing memory systems by distraction. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 103: 1177811783.) 3 Dux, P. E., Ivanoff, J., Asplund, C. LO., and Marois, R. 2007. Isolation of a Central Bottleneck of Information Processing with Time-Resolved fMRI. Neuron. 52 (6): 1109-1120 Leamnson,R.(1999)Thinking about Teaching and learning: developing habits of learning with first year college and university students. Sterling , VA: Stylus U.S. Department of Education. (2001)National Commission on the High School Senior Year www.ecs.org/html/Documents.asp?chouseid=2929

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