We use a lot of educational buzz words when we talk about how kids learn at LEADPrep. You hear terms like STEM, project-based learning, design thinking, place-based, flipped learning, and many others.
The most important thing you need to know about LEADPrep is, that at the center of all the jargon, our model is focused on student-centered learning.
Role of the student
In student-centered learning, the student is changed from one who sits and listens passively to one who an active contributor.
Students explore problems, create ideas, research solutions. As learners, they create the learning conditions and outcomes with guidance from their teachers. Learning is captured, reflected upon, and shared.
Courtesy Trevor MacKenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt
Role of the teacher
Teachers have a different part to play in student-centered learning. They do not fit the traditional stereotype of educators lecturing to a comatose or distracted teen audience.
Teachers are guides and mentors.
Constantly aware of what is going on around them, they interact throughout the class, coaching, supporting, and gathering information.
Then use what they know to be responsive–adapting the learning to foster a culture of learning. Revisions are made to better meet student needs.
Teachers cultivate strategies to support students, to give them space to ask questions, and share the tools they need to get the answers. Teachers are guides, but they also TEACH – they share knowledge, provide resources, and facilitate collaboration.
Role of the WHOLE child
No longer is the education presented in a one-size-fits-all format, with stragglers and outliers left to fend for themselves.
Student-centered education aims to educate the whole person–socially and emotionally, as well as academically.
Students are nurtured, and qualities such as creativity, collaboration, and communication are part of daily classroom interactions.
The emphasis is not only on the product or end result, but also on how the learning was gained, the process used, and the growth made by the learner.
Students are shown how to become lifelong learners, and don’t complain of feeling “stuffed like turkeys on Thanksgiving” by traditional teacher-centered instruction.
Role of frameworks
As in any classroom, there are structures and frameworks that exist to support education. But the teacher and students have learned to break free of them if they do not serve the learning process.
Standards do not SOLELY drive the learning. Often students are learning different things, with student choice, within a unifying theme.
Teachers use strategies and routines to help students to go through design-thinking steps useful to their learning: identify a challenge, gather information, generate potential solutions, refine ideas, and test solutions.
Although students might be working on uniquely personalized projects, they learn from one another throughout the process as they share their work.
Ultimately, the goal of student-centered learning should always be to empower students to continue wondering and seeking their own answers.