Student Centered Classrooms

In education, you hear a lot about Student Centered Classrooms, this phrase is among the right buzz words to say these days. To be clear, the concept is a good one if comparing classrooms where the teacher is merely the distributor of information to a classroom where the process and art of apprentice, journeyman and eventually a master craftsperson of learning is occurring.

Two questions come to mind with the concept of Student Centered Classrooms. The first has to do with the classroom part and the second the student centered part.

By saying classroom, are we automatically implying that an education occurs in classrooms as in a defined space? All of history tells us this is simply incomplete. Without meaning to, are we telling students learning occurs in a school classroom only? What about in the home, on the field, riding the bus or playing with the water hose? The classroom wording might be a bit limiting.

The student centered implication is possibly even more loaded. Should the learning in the classroom (of life) be limited to the students?  Maybe our need for more professional development is a result of our failure to learn in the context of life? Or, maybe the content we are teaching is devoid of the context? Learning content without context is theory, or so it seems to a developing mind. It makes sense to let the students tell you what they need, but what about teachers who are able to identify what learning needs to occur for them?

I wonder if we develop a mindset that is closer to reality, we all start learning when we are born and stop when we die, would we bring an end to the idea of a student centered classroom all together? It would certainly change how we define student, and classroom. If we were developing contributing citizens now, rather than at some point following higher education in the future, would we be better at taking care of each other?

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