Monday, May 11, 2009

Online Assignment #3-Darren Hunter

A student-centered classroom is focused upon the individual needs of students, addresses multiple learning styles, and prepares students for the diverse world. In a student-centered classroom teachers act as class facilitators and must consider the needs of the students, as a group and as individuals while encouraging them to participate in the learning process. This type of learning environment resonates with the primary goals of Universal Design. The purpose of Universal design, like those of student-centered environments, is to create inclusive, flexible, customizable products, courses, programs, activities, and environments for all students.
Instruction should provide experiences and information from which the students can build new knowledge. This will not happen overnight and takes a huge amount of patience, time, continued practice, and the ability to withstand colleague criticism in order to become a truly student-centered classroom.
Every student is unique, so the challenge becomes drawing out the best strategies for learning in each child. In a student-centered classroom each child will actively engage their own learning through reflection, individual and cooperative learning, and apply these new skills across various curriculums. In this setting, students will understand the grading criteria and review their work according to the criteria and make adjustments to their own learning.
In a student-centered environment, evaluations measure each child’s progress in comparison to their own previous performance and are used to improve and individualize instruction to meet each learner’s needs. This is shared with their families and continually monitored by teacher and student. When the student is given the grading rubric, the expectation is clear and concise.
Each student will have a say in the classroom management system. In a student-centered classroom the rules are developed and practiced by the students. The norms and learning environments promote healthy positive relationships and the students accept the responsibility of their own behaviors.
Today’s classrooms and the curriculum need to be challenging and engaging. The students are aware of their own limitations and strengths, yet seek to learn new strategies in order to acquire new knowledge. Students can reflect on their learning and actively build upon their knowledge base.
In a student-centered classroom the diversity of cultures, identity, and learning styles is embraced and respected. Different cultures need to be addressed as unique yet essential to maintaining a student-centered classroom.
Through the appropriate use of various technologies, students are able to connect their learning to the global village that is our world. Students regularly email their progress to their families. Families are crucial to maintaining a student-centered classroom and must be seen as partners in their children’s learning. Students and teachers must regularly communicate progress, areas of growth, and positive achievements to their families.
The teacher must accept feedback from the students and families in order to adjust teaching strategies accordingly. Most importantly, the teacher must spend time seriously reflecting upon his or her practices and use multiple assessment tools from the school, district, and state levels. Likewise, the teacher must remain current to trends, research, and set up professional growth goals to maintain effectiveness. The teacher must strive to become a master teacher in all areas of teaching.
The teacher must be an advocate not only for students in his or her classroom, but for all students in the school. This means participation in educational reforms at the school, district, and state levels. In order to effectively push for a student centered school learning environment, the teacher must participate on school committees and pushes for collaboration throughout the school. In this type of classroom, students themselves are actively engaged in creating, understanding, and connecting to knowledge and learning. The Universal Design of a student-centered classroom can provide the following: the ability create a respectful learning environment, determine essential course components, establish clear expectations and feedback, and develop natural learning supports and technologies that already exist. The use of multiple teaching strategies will provide several types of opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge, and encourage students, families, and teachers to connect. It is important to remember that this will take time as well as a great deal of effort, planning, and preparing for each day.


Christina Spencer said...


Your idea of a student-focused classroom was quite interesting. There are two things that stood out to me as I read. One was the idea of Universal Design and the other was the thought that the student-focused classroom goes beyond the confines of the classroom. I have not heard of the idea of Universal Design but from what you described I can see how it fits with the idea of a student-focused classroom. I like the idea of having "customizable products" for students. I strive to provide my students with activities of that nature on an ongoing basis.

I also really enjoyed how you made the idea of a student-focused classroom a school/district wide culture. I think that it is important that we realize our focus on students goes beyond the classroom and that if we want to have the ability to provide our students with choice and authentic experiences we will need to stand up for their needs outside of the classroom.

Kathy said...


I agree with Christina how you spoke of the Universial Design. It is interesting that it goes beyond the confines of the classroom. I never thought of it like that, however when you say as you did, it makes perfect sense and would only be beneficial to all involved. I enjoyed how you brought in the different styles of learning for each student. I agree that this is crucial part of the student focused classroom, and how you stated the students know where they stand in the class and in the academics. Very interesting post.