This term is widely used in teaching and learning literature. Student-centred learning is active, rather than passive, with an emphasis on deep learning and an increased responsibility and accountability on the behalf of the student. There is an amplified sense of learner autonomy and interdependence between the student and the teacher; thus moving beyond the notion of the teacher as the authoritative expert in the classroom from which all information is transmitted.
Student Voice has remerged on the educational landscape in the past decade. It explores the concept that student outcomes and engagement will improve if students actively participate in shaping their learning. This requires a transformation of what it means to be a student and what it means to be a teacher. In effect, it requires the intermingling of both. Teachers plan with students, projects are ‘teacher-framed’ and ‘student-led’. The role of the teacher involves starting with students’ interests and needs, then linking these to the curriculum.
Not to be confused with Constructivism, which suggests learning is the building of knowledge structures inside one’s head. Constructionism advocates that the most effective way to ensure intellectual structures form is through the active construction of something tangible that is shared with an authentic audience. This is the notion that knowledge is constructed through the active engagement of a learner and shared with a ‘community of practice’ with the expectation of peer review, collaboration and making things public (Stager, 2005).
Papert (1991) writes that ‘Constructionism reminds us that is to build something tangible – outside your head that is personally meaningful’.
If this approach incorporated student voice and functioned as part of a student-centred pedagogy, the learning experiences would be more personally meaningful to students and result in a higher level of engagement, intrinsic motivation and a deeper level of understanding.
Current Education State Targets
Student-Centred Learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers? (O’Neil &McMahon, 2005)
Towards a Pedagogy of Online Constructionist Learning (Stager, 2005)