Recently I read Beth’s first blog post for our class. It really got me thinking about how much influence a teacher can really have over their students. As I did some reading online, I came to the conclusion that while we never have control over the choices that students make, we can always foster an environment and attitude the helps them make better choices.
Here is an example of a school that lets its students have a voice in their education through choice: http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/2455
Here is an example of choice within a classroom: http://edupln.ning.com/profiles/blogs/5-ways-to-empower-your
Giving students the power over their education seems like an ideal situation, when balanced with some teacher-centered approaches. For instance, last semester I had a communications course, which was founded in a discussion based teaching style. Every class we would sit in a circle and discuss our assigned reading. Our professor would use discussion questions to keep us on task and to help us understand certain theories from our text.
A big part of student-centered learning still comes from the teacher though. As the leader of the class, a teacher must still be giving 100% to their students while activities are going on. Helping students with tasks, asking provocative questions, being aware of distracted students, and being responsive in general are all part of giving your students your all. I’ve seen teachers give out grammar, punctuation, or grammar assignments and sit down at their desk while their students work. I think this is a prime example of a teacher not being committed. Without an active and lively teacher, students may wonder why they have to work hard while the teacher is on the computer. In essence a teacher giving 100% can and will encourage their students to give 100% and thus empower them to achieve more.
A question to think about or respond to: is a teacher giving more to their students when using teacher-centered or student-centered learning?