Student Centered

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The Student-Centered Classroom
Leo Jones

cambridge university press

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo Cambridge University Press 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-2473, USA www.cambridge.org © Cambridge University Press 2007 This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published 2007 Printed in the United States of America isbn-13

978-0-521-95368-9 paperback

Book layout services: Page Designs International

Table of Contents
Introduction 1

1 2 3 4 5 6

Autonomous Learning Classroom Management Motivation 13

2 4

Fluency and Accuracy Teacher as Facilitator

18 25

Different Kinds of Activities 28

Conclusions

40 41

Further reading

Introduction
Some students say: J “Why do we have to do pair work and group work?” J “When I speak English, I feel stupid because I make lots of mistakes and don’t know enough vocabulary.” J “I don’t want to speak English until my English is much better.” J “I don’t want to listen to other students speaking incorrect English because I’ll learn their mistakes.” J “My teachers speak the best English. I want to learn from them.” This booklet will respond to those comments. We don’t want our students to become people who: J Can’t communicate in the real world J Panic when they can’t think of the right words to use J Are tongue-tied because they’re worried about making mistakes and losing face J Can’t survive without a teacher to help them and guide them J Look away in embarrassment when someone asks, “Can anyone here speak English?” A student-centered approach helps students to develop a “can-do” attitude. It is effective, motivating, and enjoyable. This booklet sets out to discuss how this approach can be implemented. It also deals with the problems that may arise. In the following chapters, unless otherwise specified, “we” means “we teachers” and “working together” means “working together in pairs or groups.”

Introduction

1

1

Autonomous Learning

Working together
In a student-centered class, students don’t depend on their teacher all the time, waiting for instructions, words of approval, correction, advice, or praise. They don’t ignore each other, but look at each other and communicate with each other. They value each other’s contributions; they cooperate, learn from each other, and help each other. When in difficulty or in doubt, they do ask the teacher for help or advice but only after they have tried to solve the problem among themselves. The emphasis is on working together, in pairs, in groups, and as a whole class. Their teacher helps them to develop their language skills. A student-centered classroom isn’t a place where the students decide what they want to learn and what they want to do. It’s a place where we consider the needs of the students, as a group and as individuals, and encourage them to participate in the learning process all the time. The teacher’s role is more that of a facilitator (see Chapter 6) than instructor; the students are active participants in the learning process. The teacher (and the textbook) help to guide the students, manage their activities, and direct their learning. Being a teacher means helping people to learn – and, in a student-centered class, the teacher is a member of the class as a participant in the learning process. In a student-centered class, at different times, students may be working alone, in pairs, or in groups: J Working alone, preparing ideas or making notes before a discussion, doing a listening task, doing a short written assignment, or doing grammar or vocabulary exercises J Working together in pairs or groups, comparing and discussing their answers, or reading and reacting to one another’s written work and suggesting improvements J Working together...
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