Is My Teaching Learner-Centered?

To gauge what it means to be a learner-centered instructor, consider these questions. (READ MORE)

Characteristics of learner-centered teaching

  • Does the course contain activities that put students in positions to learn from and with each other?
  • Are students encouraged to discover things for themselves, or does the teacher usually tell them what they should know and do?
  • Are there policies and practices in the course that promote the development of autonomous, self-directed learning skills?
  • Is student input solicited on course topics, policies, assessment methods, and class activities?
  • Is collaboration emphasized more than competition in the course?
  • Is what’s being learned, why it’s being learned, and how it can be learned discussed more often than grades?
  • Are students voluntarily participating or do they sit silently until called on to answer questions and make comments? Does their nonverbal behavior indicate they’d rather not speak?
  • Do students talk more than the teacher during class discussions? Do students respond to each other or only to the teacher?
  • Is it a course where questions play a more prominent role than answers?
  • Are students being taught how to answer their own questions?
  • Are mistakes handled as learning opportunities for the teacher and the students?
  • Are skills like critical thinking and problem-solving taught explicitly?
  • Is the teacher modeling how expert learners handle problems, find answers, deal with failure, and celebrate success?
  • Are students being given the opportunity to develop self- and peer-assessment skills?
  • Do students have the chance to practice the principles of constructive feedback (when they provide input about the course and/or about the work of their peers)?
  • Do students regularly comment on evaluations that it was a course where they had to think? Or, was a course where they had to teach themselves (meaning the teacher held them responsible for learning)?