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FIVE KEY CHANGES TO PRACTICE THE WHAT

Weimer's Learner Centered Teaching (2002) "Five Key Changes to Practice" is a definitive paradigm for changing pedagogy to LCT. This section describes each of these "Five Key Changes to Practice," which are:

1. The Balance of Power

2. The Function of Content

3. The Role of the Teacher

4. The Responsibility for Learning

5. Evaluation Purpose and Process

Consideration of the five steps with each of the LCT ERM examples paradoxically resembles the TL approach. Therefore, instructors are encouraged to appraise their current pedagogy and associate the respective LCT changes to practice with their course. To assist your movement to LCT, Weimer's (2002) Part Two, "Implementing the Learner-Centered Approach," includes discussions of responding to resistance from students and faculty, taking a developmental approach in converting students from passive to active learners, and making LCT work based on principles of successful instructional improvement. Appendixes in Weimer (2002) offer suggestions for the syllabus and learning log (Appendix A), handouts for developing learning skills (B), and a recommended reading list (C). Blumberg (2009) provides an extensive step-by-step guide to adopting LCT.

The Balance of Power

The LCT classroom is more democratic than the TL, where sequencing, content, and information flow are one-way: professor to student. With LCT, students actively participate in the learning process and are likely to alter its direction by connecting to prior tangential or experiential knowledge. Generally, the teacher retains the responsibility for selecting the course content, learning goals, and itinerary, though even these may include student input. Regardless, with LCT, the learning path taken, the direction of course discussion, and practical examples are at the very least influenced, and more likely chosen, by the student; thus "power is shared" (Weimer 2002).

LCT often includes case studies, small group discussions or assignments, and/or designating a student to be a group discussion leader on a rotating basis. Power sharing is not easy for teachers accustomed to a TL approach. But LCT power sharing has several benefits. Students are more active, engaged, interested, and motivated, and less passive and disconnected (Weimer 2002, p. 31). It is easier for a student to hide in a class of 30, 50, or 100 than in a group of five students. It should be noted that the student discussion leader is equally asked to "share the power," and there are potential "tough spots for running a risk management workshop" – nonparticipation and dominators (Fraser and Simkins 2010, p. 169).

 
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