Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Characteristics of Teacher-Centered & Student-Centered Instruction

Source: Cuban, L. (1983). How teachers taught. New York: Teachers College Press

Teacher-centered instruction means that a teacher controls what is taught, when and under what conditions within a classroom. The indicators are:
  • Teacher talk exceeds student talk during instruction.
  • Instruction occurs frequently with the whole class; small-group or individual instruction occurs less often.
  • Use of class time is largely determined by the teacher.
  • The teachers rely heavily upon the textbook to guide curricular and instructional decision making.
  • The classroom furniture is usually arranged into rows of desks or chairs facing a chalkboard with a teacher’s desk nearby.
Student –centered instruction means that students exercise a substantial degree of responsibility for what is taught, how it is learned, and for movement within the classroom. Some indicators are:
  • Student talk about learning tasks is at least equal to, if not greater than, teacher talk.
  • Most instruction occurs individually, in small groups (2 to 6 students) or in moderate-sized groups rather than being directed at the entire class.
  • Students help choose and organize the content to be learned.
  • Teachers permit students to determine, partially or wholly, rules of behavior, classroom rewards and penalties, and how they are to be enforced.
  • Varied instructional materials (e.g., activity centers, learning stations, interest centers) are available in the classroom so that students can use them independently or in small groups.
  • Use of these materials is scheduled, either by the teacher or in consultation with students, for at least half of the academic table available.
  • The classroom is usually arranged in a manner that permits students to work together or separately, in small groups or in individual work spaces; no dominant pattern in arranging classroom furniture exists, and desks, tables, and chairs are aligned frequently. 

Spring 2007 Reflection