Classroom Management: Which is Best? Teacher-centered or Student-centered approach?

Classroom Management: Which is Best? Teacher-centered or Student-centered approach?

Assessment is an integral part of our course design, but is it really measuring the learning that both of us and our students most wants to achieve? Many instructors still rely on standardized or traditional forms of assessment. Commonly used traditional tests are an appropriate method of measuring declarative knowledge or basic facts, but they may not be reasonable for the learner-centered style.

When considering their approach to instruction, teachers are always looking for the method that is most beneficial for all of their students. Teachers want their students to enjoy the learning process, and they want the classroom to be orderly and controlled.

In teacher-centered education, students put all of their focus on the teacher. Generally, the teacher talks and the students don’t do much conversing or collaborating. The original form the idea was that the teacher held ultimate authority and the students whose job was to absorb teacher-imparted information through passive listening, while the student-centered education both teacher and students efforts. But that doesn’t mean that the teacher doesn’t lead the room, or that the students pick a subject and start experimenting without any guidance. Instead, this approach usually involves a fair amount of interaction between the teacher and the students, as well as among students through group work and other collaborative activities.

During activities for teacher-centered approach, students work alone, and teamwork is discouraged, these activities can be altered, students and instructors share the focus, instead of listening to the teacher exclusively. Group work is encouraged, and students learn to collaborate and communicate with one another.

There are advantages and disadvantages of both type of education (teacher and student centered education)

Teacher-centered Education



–          The classroom remains orderly. Students are quiet, and the teacher retains full control of the classroom and its activities.

–          Students learn on their own, they learn to be independent and make their own decisions.

–          The teacher directs all classroom activities; they don’t have to worry that students will miss an important topic.

–          When students work alone, they don’t learn to collaborate with other students, and communication skills may suffer.

–          Teacher-centered instruction can get boring for students. Their minds may wander, and they may miss important facts.

–          Teacher-centered instruction doesn’t allow students to express themselves, ask questions and direct their own learning.

Student-centered Education



–          Students learn important communicative and collaborative skills through group work.

–          Students learn to direct their own learning, ask questions and complete tasks independently.

–          Students are more interested in learning activities when they can interact with one another and participate actively.

–          Students are talking; classrooms are often busy, noisy and chaotic.

–          Teachers must attempt to manage all students’ activities at once, which can be difficult when students are working on different stages of the same project.

–          The teacher doesn’t deliver instruction to all students at once; some students may miss important facts.

In current classroom situation, teachers have practiced toward a student-centered approach. However, some students maintain that teacher-centered education is the more effective strategy. When both approaches are used together, students can enjoy the positives of both types of education. Instead of getting bored with teacher-centered education or losing sight of their goals in a completely student-centered classroom, pupils can benefit from a well-balanced educational environment.

Assessing students outcomes, we should practice formative and summative assessment and should integrate grading, learning, and motivation for our students. Carefully planned assessment questions and methods make the time we spend grading assignments and tests meaningful.

Usually we tend to overstate in choosing the right assessment methods that provoke from our students the kind of learning that we want to measure. A combination of careful consideration, knowledge of our own students and analysis of their work are the keys. For example, if you teach math problems, you may want students to demonstrate their ability to solve problems and explain the process. Putting too much emphasis on getting the right answers can take away from the goals. So we should consider adding some of our assignments and exams: “have students draw a vertical line down the center of their page, dividing it into two columns. In one column they solve the problem, and in the other, they write sentences for each step to explain what they did and why.” So that, we can assess on how far they learned.

We should put in our mind that the most important thing is to choose assessment methods that will assess the type of learning we are trying to achieve in our lesson. That means that the methods that other instructors before we have used are not necessarily the only way or the best way to assess. It is all right to step outside our own comfort zone and outside what has traditionally been done, if we feel that an alternate assessment method will serve our students’ and our interests and goals better.

Even if, we are a new instructor, remember that we have spent many years as a student and therefore have information and experiences that will guide us in this process. Reflect on those experiences and decide if we want to do what we experienced and use those experiences in our own assessment design or whether we want to change the way we assess. If we do think change is necessary, ask ourselves why and how we will change things?


One thought on “Classroom Management: Which is Best? Teacher-centered or Student-centered approach?”

  1. Student-centered instruction is an instructional approach in which students influence the content, activities, materials, and pace of learning. This learning model places the student (learner) in the center of the learning process. The instructor provides students with opportunities to learn independently and from one another and coaches those in the skills they need to do so effectively.

    The SCI approach includes such techniques as substituting active learning experiences for lectures, assigning open-ended problems and problems requiring critical or creative thinking that cannot be solved, involving students in simulations and role plays, and using self-paced and/or cooperative (team-based) learning. Properly implemented SCI can lead to increased motivation to learn, greater retention of knowledge, deeper understanding, and more positive attitudes towards the subject being taught.


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