I am sharing this piece based on my recent experience of conducting a training on ‘Learner Centric Classroom’ for the faculty members of Daffodil International University.
Learner-Centered Theory of Education (LCTE) was founded by Jean Jacque Rousseau (1712–1778).
The key principles in this method are –
- Learners will decide on how they will learn, what they will learn, and how the learning will be assessed;
- Each learner’s unique qualifications, interests, skills, and capabilities are valued, and acknowledged; and
- Each learner is nursed as a co-creator in the teaching-learning process.
I conducted a training on ‘Learner Centric Classroom’ for the faculty members of Daffodil International University on 9th and 24th April 2022 with three separate groups. At the training teachers took part in a think-pair-share activity where they pointed out the importance of a student-centric approach in teaching; for example – ensuring collaboration, employing self-assessment, engaging and empowering learners, making them self-aware of their potentials, improving problem-solving skills, learning through fun, ensuring low affective filter, getting them out of the comfort zone of being spoon-fed etc.
In a group task as part of developing a plan to use learner-centric methods in their classroom produced after the training was over, a group of 5 faculty members from Pharmacy Department commented with a beautiful analogy, “…Hence, it is obligatory to introduce a learner-centric classroom that will allow the students to sail their ship, while the teacher remains on the deck and navigates in the right direction. The implementation plan mainly focuses on creating an atmosphere full of opportunities, where the teacher will initiate the class but will leave the stage for the students later.” (Galib Muhammad Abrar Ishtiaque, Most. Sumaiya Khatun Kali, Sultana Juhara Mannan, Md. Mominur Rahman and Md. Shajib Khan)
The group mentioned that the students will be in the driving seat for a learner-centric classroom but the teacher and university authority will equally play a side role by providing them with open-ended questions, group work, and logistic support. They predicted that the short-term impact will be visible clearly as students will have their self-reflection through collaborative actions. It will make them more engaged and enthusiastic about the class. Additionally, learning would be filled with intrinsic motivation, interactive sessions, and fun in the long run.
In a group task teachers also jotted down some of the challenges to implement a learner-centric method in their present context on the training day. Some of the common challenges depicted are – rigid curriculum, large class size, lack of willingness on students’ part, lack of logistic support, lack of proper planning on the teachers’ part etc. However, they all agreed that technology is not the only means of ensuring a student-centric approach, rather a classroom can be student-centric even without having any technological support. In this case teacher’s planning and innovation are required.
A Sample Plan:
A Capstone Project was developed by 6 faculty members working at two different departments i.e. ITM and SWE as part of developing a plan to use learner-centric methods in their classroom where students will learn to work in a group and apply this learning in their professional life. In the process students will develop teamwork, analytical skill, hard skill and problem solving skill. Nafees Imran, Masum Billah, Nusrat Tasnim, Mohetuzzaman Mobin, Nuruzzaman Faruqui and Md. Julkar Nayeen Mahi were involved in creating this plan as a post task of the training on ‘Learner Centric Classroom’.
The training was an eye opener for me as I did not only share my ideas, some tools, and techniques but also learned how teachers employ their own techniques in their respective courses even though there are many challenges involved in the teaching-learning process. It is, therefore, advisable to the new faculty members joining the fraternity to practice such techniques and the senior members to shift their focus from themselves to the students so that we all can ensure that learning is taking place and students retain it for use in their future professional life.