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The Effectiveness of Student-centred way of Teaching in helping the

Primary School Year 3 Students to learn better.


2.0 Introduction

In this chapter, the outline related to this research study on the theories on studentcentred way of teaching are been discussed. There is also a discussion on the concepts
of student-centred, the effectiveness of student-centred teaching and the primary
school students. Besides that, other researches related studies of the topic also will be
discussed in this chapter.
In the 21st century, teachers play an important character in helping primary student to
develop the required knowledge and skills. Teachers roles are to make sure everyone
benefits from the lesson, supporting one another. (Leo Jones, 2007) Learning is
affected by students abilities and attitudes as well as resources in school and at home.
Though, teacher quality has been shown to be the single most important school
variable influencing learner achievement (Verspoor, 2008). Therefore, introduction
of student-centred teaching is a new interpretation of quality teaching (Vavrus, F.,
Thomas, M. & Bartlett, L, 2011).
Student-centred is a way of approach in the teaching to make the lesson
become more engaging for the students comparing with the teacher-centred style.
Because when students are involved and engaged with the material during the lesson,
they are somehow developing important ideas and also important learning skills.
(Maryellen Weimer, 2011) Student-centred way of teaching gives more opportunity
for the students to involve in an active-learning and become more responsible in their
own learning. On the other hand, teacher-centred or the traditional way is just a spoon
feeding way of teaching, where teacher throw all the information and knowledge and

students will just receive everything. In the traditional way, a teacher is the main
person to teach through lesson and activities and students mostly in the passive
receiver mode (ONeill & Mc Mahon, 2005). So in the new era, teacher should now
change from the traditional way or teacher-centred way to student-centred way of
teaching to help the new generate to fulfil the new requirement of the new education
Student-centred way of teaching is one of the ways to let students to get more
involvement and explore by them self. According to Maryellen Weimer (2011) when
students get the chance to interact with the content during the lesson it makes them
understand more what in going on in the lesson. Beside this when students speak
about what they are learning and work with what they are learning they will make it
their own and it becomes meaningful to them in terms of understanding and ideas
generating. Students will see why the learning or lesson is important to them and also
why they must know it. This also makes students understand about when they explore
by themselves they will have ideas on having new ideas mixing with what they
already know and the important of why they still need to learn more (Maryellen
Weimer, 2011). So it is very important to get students to involve more during the
lesson. By having a student-centred lesson, students will get the opportunities to
involve more and thus helping the students to fulfil the new requirement of the new
education system.

2.1 Student-centred

Student-centred means during the learning process in the lesson the main focus is on
the students. Students become more active in the lesson compare to the teacher.
Teacher will works as a facilitator to provide guide to help the student to develop and
construct their own ideas. During the process of facilitation by the teacher it will
make the students to become more responsible for their own learning (Michael
Sunnarborg, 2008). In a student-centred class, students dont depend on their teacher
all the time, waiting for instructions, words of approval, correction, advice, or praise.
They dont ignore each other, but look at each other and communicate with each

other. They value each others contributions; they cooperate, learn from each other,
and help each other. When in difficulty or in doubt, they do ask the teacher for help or
advice but only after they have tried to solve the problem among themselves. The
emphasis is on working together, in pairs, in groups, and as a whole class. Their
teacher helps them to develop their skills. (Leo Jones, 2007). Student-centred is
where students solve problem and learn more by themselves and help or guide will be
provided by the teacher whenever necessary. In a student-centred learning
environment students will be able to learn and achieve more. Thus it is to believe that
student-centred learning can help the students to learn better.

2.1.1 Student-centred way of teaching

Student-centred teaching is an approach that informs the practices of teaching based

on the assumption that students learn best by actively constructing and assimilating
knowledge rather than through the passive addition of discrete facts to an existing
store of knowledge (Mtika & Gates, 2010). The definition assumes that throwing
problems and let students to think critically is a better way of teaching compared to a
teacher-centred teaching method. Students learn when they solve problems and they
also construct ideas based on their existing prior knowledge. Students will also solve
problem based on the similarity of the problem they had solve before. Students learn
and construct ideas show the effectiveness of student-centred way of teaching in help
students to learn better. Thus, student-centred teaching can help primary students to
fulfil the new education system needs.
Student-centred learning is deeply rooted in several foundational educational
theories, especially humanism and constructivism (Heather Schooley, 2012).
Prominent in these theories is the classical humanistic approach that rests on building
a positive teacher-student relationship. Trusting relationships foster the formation,
process, and completion of self-actualizing and democratic goals, pedagogical
flexibility, and the value of helping students discover how to learn more effectively so
that learning becomes life (Cornelius-White & Harbaugh, 2010).

From this study we see that student-centred had become one of the important
fundamental for educational theories in term of constructivism. Based on Heather
Schooley, (2012), the focus of constructivism is on how students construct ideas in
their learning process and how students set their own goals in the learning. Therefore,
student-centred that focus on constructivism can help primary students to learn better
in the lesson (Heather Schooley, 2012).

Student-centred way of teaching is a way that teacher design and conduct lesson is a
way of thinking and learning that emphasises student responsibility and activity in
learning (Cannon & Newble, 2000). Lesson should be done in the focus more on
students responsibility. Which mean student should be given task to be solved,
students will learn about their responsibility in the process of solving problems. For
examples, students will learn how to identify problem, students will also learn about
the ways of solving problems. Students will try to solve problem based on what they
had learn before. By solving new problem based on old and prior knowledge students
will construct and generate new ideas and knowledge. In this way, students will
remember what that had done and learn better.
As human, we remember better the things that we done and solve by ourselves
rather than we just listen and receive it straight away. Thus, student-centred way of
teaching in conducting constructivism learning environment can somehow help
primary year 3 students to learn better in their learning process.

According to Light & Cox (2001), studentcentred learning focuses more on

student learning outcomes rather than on the teaching this is because content and
knowledge occur as a result of student learning and the teacher is a facilitator of
this learning, having a responsibility to help students in their constructions of
knowledge. These viewpoints classify the four fundamental types of student-centred
First, they stress that students should take responsibility for their education
from learning passively to learning actively in the learning process. Which mean that
student should not depend on their teacher to deliver them all the information but

become more independent to construct their own ideas through the learning process
(Light & Cox, 2001).
Next, students are to manage their learning experience actively as they should
learn can construct new ideas based no their prior knowledge.
Besides that, students have to construct knowledge and ideas to become more
active in learning. This will allow students to understand their learning goals, which
they had set in the lesson.
At last, teachers will work as a facilitator and come out will activities that can
meet the students learning needs. Teacher will guide the students in the learning
process for the students to construct their ideas.
Thus, throughout all of the process stated above in the lesson of studentcentred students become more responsible during the learning process and students
will be able to construct their own ideas during the learning process. Therefore
student-centred teaching can help students to learn better in their lesson.

2.1.2 The effectiveness of student-centred way of teaching

Student-centred teaching provides students with the opportunities to develop their

lifelong learning skills. We are at a time when skills and knowledge are becoming
obsolete very quickly, so in order to keep pace with developments in science,
technology, globalization, and population ageing; we must continue our education and
training throughout our working life. The effectiveness of student-centred way of
teaching approaches has been proved in the western world as an effective way of
teaching (Yong Wang, 2005). From the research students who learn in a studentcentred way of teaching lesson can achieve better compare to teacher-centred way of
teaching. This show that student-centred way of teaching is better in helping students
compare to teacher-centred way of teaching. Hence this show that student-centred
way of teaching can help primary students to achieve and learn better.

Based on Kopchas research study (cited in President, 2012), a studentcentred teaching method is effective for encouraging students and improving their

achievement. Students learn better and get more motivate in student-centred way of
teaching in the lesson. For example, when students solve problem in a student-centred
lesson and through the lesson they found out the new ideas of solving problems by
themselves, students will started to gain confidence and become highly motivated to
learn. Thus, the effectiveness of student-centred way of teaching is there in helping
students to learn better in the lesson.

Based on Toh Wah Seng (2003), he claimed that There has been much work
done on the effect of teaching approaches on student learning. In particular, the
relationship between student-centred teaching approaches on student learning has
consistently shown the positive effect of such approaches on students cognitive and
affective outcomes. In the study, it show that the effectiveness of student-centred way
of teaching in the classroom in helping students to learn better in the context of
Malaysia. Teacher in Malaysia is moving forward and started to change the way of
teaching from teacher-centred to student-centred (Toh Wah Seng, 2003). This shows
that the effectiveness of student-centred and it can bring benefit in helping primary
year 3 students to learn better in their lesson.

The effectiveness on the student-centred way of teaching had been proven as

the need of it in the curriculum had become more demanding. The shift from teachercentred to student-centred had become important in the new context. According to
Toh Wah Seng (2003), The need for teachers to shift towards a student-centred
paradigm has become more urgent given the recent emphasis on generic and thinking
skills in the curriculum. The importance of these skills cannot be underestimated.
From the study we can see that the important of student-centred way of teaching bring
in to the curriculum nowadays. In the new curriculum nowadays, many of the
requirements in the curriculum needs the students to generate ideas based on their
prior knowledge. Through student-centred way of teaching, during hand-on activities
where students involve actively in the lesson, students will be able to generate ideas
during the learning process. Thus the effectiveness of the student-centred way of
teaching is there to help primary year 3 students to learn better.

The effectiveness of studentcentred learning is not short of some disapproval

but in overall it has been seen to be a positive experience in helping students, for
example in Edwards (2001) highlights the worth of studentcentred learning:
Placing learners at the heart of the learning process and meeting their needs, is
taken to a progressive step in which learnercentred approaches mean that persons
are able to learn what is relevant for them in ways that are appropriate. Waste in
human and educational resources is reduced as it suggested learners no longer have
to learn what they already know or can do, nor what they are uninterested in.
(Edwards, 2001) The effectiveness of student-centred is that this learning style can
help to students to learn more about what they do not know. Sometimes in teachercentred lesson, teacher keep on feeding students with knowledge they may already
learned before in the pass. Thus in contrast student-centred will be able to bring more
benefits compare to the teacher-centred way of teaching (Karim, 2011). Hence, the
effectiveness of student-centred way of teaching somehow appears to help primary
year 3 students to learn better.

2.2 Primary school students

A very brief introduction of the primary education system in Malaysia by the Ministry
of Education of Malaysia (MOE). Children in Malaysia begin their formal education
as pupils in Primary Schools at the age of seven (7). They will continue where they
left off in pre-school and continue to enhance the 3Rs: reading, writing and
arithmetic. At the end of Year Six (Primary Six), they will sit for their first national
evaluation exam, the Primary School Evaluation Test or Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah
Rendah (commonly known as UPSR in Malay). Information include primary subjects
(Level 1: Year 1-3, Level 2: Year 4-6), core subjects, compulsory subjects and
additional subjects. (Ministry of Education, Malaysia) Primary students had been
selected to become sample of the study because of new education system KSSR had
been introduce to them in year 2011. So it is important to find out whether the

student-centred way of teaching can help students to learn better and fulfil the
requirement of the new education system,
2.2.1 Year 3 students (primary school)

The highest year student from the new system name Standard Curriculum for
Primary Schools (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah) or KSSR is now at year 3 in
their primary school study. The system had been introduced in year 2011 start from
year 1 students. Now in year 2013, the student of the very first batch of the new
system had come to year 3. KSSR focused on pupil-centred fun learning, reasoning,
critical and creative thinking, communication, and Information Communication and
Technology (ICT), which teacher only find materials based on pupils interest to allow
them to explore themselves (Karen Chapman, 2010).
The year 3 students had gone through 3 years of learning in the new
transformation education system start from year 2011. According to Awanis Rosni
(2013) the transformation of the primary school bring change to the existing
curiculum Transformation of the primary school curriculum means restructuring
and upgrading existing primary school curriculum. The purpose of the
transformation is to ensure that students are provided with the knowledge, skills and
values that are relevant to the current needs to face the challenges of the 21st century.
Transformation of the primary school curriculum focus is on the skills of reading,
writing and arithmetic (3M) but taking into account the reasoning skills, creativity
and innovation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as
entrepreneurial. (Awanis Rosni, 2013) Year 3 primary students had been selected to
carry out the study because they are in the new education system and is the new
system it required them to focus on how to make decision based on their mind and
logic and also to understand sustain situation based on their logical consideration. So
it is important for the students to learn in a student-centred lesson in order to fulfil the
requirement. Hence, year 3 primary student had been focus on to find out whether the
student-centred way of teaching can help them learn better.

2.3 The effectiveness of student-centred way of teaching in helping the primary

school year 3 students

According to Education Deputy Director-General (Policy), Prof. Dr. Khair

Mohamad Yusof, the KSSR approach is no longer the 'chalk and talk' method or the
traditional way of teaching but it focuses more on an interesting way of learning in the
lesson. "KSSR not only focus on language proficiency, but also communication
among the students. It also uses other methods such as games and music." (Bernama,
25th September, 2011) So, way of students interact among each other during the
lesson is also a way of student-centred learning in the lesson. The requirement of
KSSR system show that the effectiveness of student-centred way of teaching in
helping the primary year 3 students.

2.4 Theoretical Framework

The structure for the student-centred way of teaching mostly based on

constructivism. This is because during the student-centred lesson students have a lot
of involvements either in the hand-on activities or group work. During the activities
stage, teacher acts as a facilitator to guide students to complete their own tasks.
During the process, students will be able to construct their own ideas. It focuses on
how student generate their own ideas during the learning process. When students learn
and find out concepts or ideas by themselves, they will remember it better than just
receiving it from the teacher (Jonathan Martin, 2010).
Nowadays, in most of the school teacher still use teacher-centred to deliver the
KSSR lesson. The method use is not suitable for the new system, because old teaching
way is just deliver knowledge and students accept it very any query on why. But in
KSSR system, the system need to students to generate ideas based on their prior
knowledge and experience. Thus, student-centred way of teaching is useful to help

students to achieve the requirement and learn better. Students generate own ideas is
similar to theories of constructivism. An example quoted by Bruner,
Learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts
based upon their current/past knowledge. (Bruner, 1996)
Student-centred way of teaching gives students opportunities to construct and
generate ides and knowledge based on their past knowledge and ideas.
Next theory is active learning; in an active learning environment emphasis on
information transmitting is lesser but more on developing students skills. The lesser
information transmitting means that less teacher-centred lesson, because a lot of
information transmitting happens during teacher-centred lesson. Develop more on
students skills emphasis on student-centred way of teaching, where students learn











Bonwell, C., & Eison, J. (1991).

Active learning approach provides individuals with significant control over their
learning and most of the responsibility for important learning decision; the active
learning approach gives the learners primary responsibility for managing his or her
learning. (Bell, B. S. & Kozlowski, S. W. J., 2009)
Active learning is one of the important element in student-centred way of teaching, it
make students to become more engage and more active in the lesson. Hence it will
help students to develop important skills throughout the process.
Besides all above, collaboration learning consider as an essential in studentcentred way of teaching. According to Lourdes M. Ferrer (2004) student-centred way
of teaching put heavy quality on collaborative learning. Students share their ideas and
work together to solve problems. Collaboration learning can be consider as an
important element the student-centred way of teaching in helping students to learn
better (Lourdes M. Ferrer, 2004).

In a collaborative learning environment, all participants share data, make

presentations together and engage in explaining, clarifying and justifying what they
have learned to a wider audience during presentations. Active participation in the
learning process is enhanced when teachers set group activities that encourage
collaboration, group processing and social skills development among students.
(Lourdes M. Ferrer, 2004)
Collaborative learning is very important to help students to work together with each
other in a student-centred way of teaching lesson. As students work together their will
share ideas and learn from each others.
The last theory which is important in student-centred way of teaching is peer
tutoring. Peer tutoring mean student helping student in the learning process, where the
better student teaching the weaker student. In student-centred lesson, students are the
focus in the lesson and peer tutoring way gives opportunities for the students to learn
among themselves. (Charlene H.P. Tan, 2003)
Peer tutoring is the system of instruction in which learners help each other and
learn by teaching. (Charlene H.P. Tan, 2003)
Peer tutoring is very important in the student-centred way of teaching. As when
students learn from their peer they are easier to communicate among each other and
they feel more comfortable (Matt Wawrzynski, 2012). Thus peer tutoring can help
students to improve in their learning.
The main purpose of the research study is to find out how can student-centred help
primary year 3 students to learn better and achieve better in their learning process in
order to fulfil the requirement of the new education system (KSSR).

2.5 Conceptual Framework

This research study is to investigate the effectiveness of students-centred way of

teaching in helping the primary school year 3 students to learn better. Therefore,
Diagram 1 shows the conceptual framework of the research study.

Teaching Method

Student-centred way of teaching

Active learning

Effectiveness of studentcentred way of teaching

Students achievement

Compare the result of the

post-test from different

Compare the result of pretest and post-test from the


Diagram 1

Conceptual Framework

Students interest


2.6 Conclusion
The literature review in this chapter help to find out topic that are related to
the effectiveness of student-centred way of teaching in helping year 3 students to learn
better. The method of student-centred way of teaching was supported by some studies
done by others researcher.
Based on some of the researcher, student-centred way of teaching method will
be able to enhance students learning and help students to learn better. Student-centred
lesson with active learning style of the students will be able to motivate the students
in making them become more eager to learn can find out ideas and knowledge by
In the student-centred learning process, students construct their own ideas and
knowledge rather than teacher spoon feed them. The ideas of constructivism also
bring great important ideas about how student-centred lesson help students to generate
and come out with new ideas based on the old knowledge.
Awanis Rosni (2013) The Impact of KSST on Students in Malaysia Primary Schools:
A Case Study on Standard 2 Students at SK Padang Kemunting
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Kozlowski & E. Salas (Eds.), Learning, training, and development in organizations
(pp. 263-300). New York: Routledge.
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