Lets face it, our educational system is out of date and is in bad need for a facelift. When our current system was created, kids were living during the Industrial Revolution. It was a different world. It was a different child! Because we were more interested in developing obedient workers, the education system was set up to assure these type of workers.
Here we are in 2017 and education is still under the same system. The world around us has completely changed but the way we educate our youth is still the same. We can no longer keep teaching our students the way we were taught! Under the "old system", teachers were the central figure in classrooms. Teachers shot out information and students were expected to regurgitate all of that information. Classrooms were set up to be teacher centered. However, recognizing that we need to change the educational system, we need to shift to a student centered classroom.
Through a student centered classroom, students have a say on their own education! They become an active player in their own learning. In addition, it allows for educating "the whole child" and promotes responsibilty and problem solving. It allows for open ended conversations where student ideas, creativity, emotions and feelings are heard.
There are several ways to foster student centered classrooms. With the Maker movement and STEM being hot topics in schools everywhere, they offer the opportunity to create a student centered environment. Coding, Robotics, Project Based Learning, all being hot items as well in education, can also allow students to become the drivers of learning.
My top activity to foster Student Centered classrooms is Design Thinking. Through well crafted design challenges, students expereince the process. There are many different models but, being a Teachers Guild Fellow, I prefer the IDEO version. Through the Design Thinking process, students go through stages: Discover, Interpretation, Ideate, Experimentation, and Evolution. For the classroom, I bring it down to Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Share.
Through Design Thinking, students are part of a student centered classroom where they are the drivers of the a car called learning. Through student centered classrooms, students discover their own creativity and develop self confidence.
Its time for a change in education. But change cannot happen unless you make the change in your own classroom. Test it out and play with it! Soon enough, students will become the center of your classroom!