Continuing support for student-centred learning.

  Teacher education, both pre-service and in-service, should help teachers develop teaching methods and skills that take new understandings of how children learn into account. Just as curriculum should be child-centred and relevant, so should instructional methods. The limited view of teaching as presentation of knowledge no longer fits with current understandings of how and … Continue reading “Continuing support for student-centred learning.”

 

Teacher education, both pre-service and in-service, should help teachers develop teaching methods and skills that take new understandings of how children learn into account. Just as curriculum should be child-centred and relevant, so should instructional methods. The limited view of teaching as presentation of knowledge no longer fits with current understandings of how and what students learn. Instead, instruction should help students build on prior knowledge to develop attitudes, beliefs and cognitive skills; as well as expand their knowledge base. Teaching styles in many places, however, remain traditional, teacher-centred and fairly rigid or even authoritarian (Carron & Chau, 1996). When Ethiopian teachers were interviewed about the degree to which their teaching practices were learner-centred and relevant to student’s lives, about half said they link lessons to the daily life of pupils at least once a week. Almost two-thirds, however, said they never or rarely ask pupils what their interests are, or what they would like to learn (Verwimp, 1999). Greater understanding of student-centred learning can be encouraged through programmes such as the Bangladeshi project on Multiple Ways of Teaching and Learning. Begun in 1994, the project helps improve teachers’ skills by integrating brain research and multiple intelligences theory as the foundation for understanding children’s needs (Ellison & Rothenberger, 1999). Teaching methods that facilitate active student learning rather than promote passivity and rote memorization represent a new and difficult paradigm for many teachers, but one that needs to be understood and put into practice if learner outcomes are to improve. Life skills is a term which UNICEF uses in two main ways, (i) to refer to a broad group of psychosocial and interpersonal skills, and (ii) to refer to the process of teaching and learning about these skills. As such, it is important to discuss life skills in terms of essential content (see section three (III.) of this paper) and processes related to life skill-based education. Teaching and learning about life skills requires interactive, student-centred methods. Since skills are by definition active, competency is unlikely to be developed without active practice.

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