Inquiry: Student-Centered Instructional Strategies

I found this video while inquiring into student-centered learning. I like it because it targets the practical aspects of teaching in this way and provides clear examples as well. The video presents idea on direct instruction, indirect instruction, learning in pairs, cooperative groups, heterogeneous grouping, individual roles, intelligent behaviours, inquiry and discovery, project-centered, writing across the curriculum, learning by games, graphic organizers, mnemonics, and music and movement (strong memory devices). Of these, there are a few that I would like to further reflect on.

Direct and indirect instruction

I like that direct instruction isn’t completely abandoned, but that it is said it needs to be limited/brief. I think for most learners learning purely through direct instruction doesn’t work. Moreover, instruction of all kinds need to be varied to target different levels of thinking and differentiate for learner needs. Indirect instruction may align more easily with the idea of student-centered learning as it can be a more constructive approach. I think both are needed and the extent to which each is used must be decided by the teacher and learners of a classroom.

Different ways of groups/group learning

The video expresses different ways and purposes of grouping. Pairs and cooperative learning groups are two things that I have been slowly wading into. My first instinct as a student is to recall frustrations that come with group work, but I am seeing the power of collaboration more and more. I believe that collaboration is important to learning and is a skill students will need. The idea of heterogeneous groups is another idea brought up in the video. I think it is good to have some groups, but I still think there is a place for some homogeneous grouping that can help with learners at different ability levels. I do, however, believe that creating groups that are made up of diverse learners with different and unique abilities could be a powerful learning experience for all.

Inquiry, discovery, and project learning

I really enjoy this aspect of student-centered learning. I believe that this is where direct instruction can be minimized. I believe that inquiry, discovery, and projects support higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Inquiry projects allow students to learn through areas of personal interest. In an English classroom, I think this could easily be done for essay writing by allowing students to research something they want to. I also believe students could pick out a theme or idea from a novel to explore further. Discovery and project learning invite hands on learning. I want students to take responsibility for and enjoy their learning. I think these strategies allow students to see how learning is relevant and how they, as individuals, are important.

Learning through games

This is a newer concept for me. I have looked into gamification of education and I have liked what I’ve found. To me, gamification uses intrinsic motivation that people have when they play games, but for educational purposes. For example, we will repeat a level until we succeed and we will work hard to gain and improve our skills related to the game. Why? Because we want to. Education can be the same. I think learning through games is completely relevant. It is another way to make learning engaging and get students responsible for their learning progress.

Strong memory devices

I know that some memory devices are needed. My worry is about the idea of memorization. I am more interested in deeper methods of learning, but I believe that ways that can help students own their knowledge is still good. Ideally, students will be able to analyze, evaluate, and create. In which case, simple memory devices won’t be necessary. I think it is important to use different learning styles (such as music and movement) in the classroom, but the goal should not be to memorize. The goal is to be able to do something with the knowledge.

Conclusion

These are some strategies that I will continue to consider and inquire into using for the purpose of student-centered teaching. Do you have anything to add? Are there issues with any of these methods or additional methods I should look into? I would love to hear feedback and get any further advice that can help me in my inquiry into student-centered learning. Thank you.

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One thought on “Inquiry: Student-Centered Instructional Strategies

  1. Some great ideas Paige. I liked the video, does a good job of explaining the strategies. I look forward to seeing how you explore the various uses of the different strategies within the classroom setting. As a former English/social/Middle Years Teacher I found that what I wanted to do didn’t always match up with the reality of what happened in the classroom but it didn’t stop me from trying different strategies and trying new things!

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