maple leaf 2-1. Student-Centered Vs. "Almost" Student-Centered Environment

I use to think "student-centered" and "teacher-centered" environments were on the opposite ends of a continuum. But there were too many experiences that didn't fit that model. Teachers who made decisions that were "almost-student-centered" tended to make more teacher-centered decisions than really student-centered decisions.

A Continuum of Classroom Option Model
1         2         3         4         5         6         7         8        
Equal Treatment of Unequals Teaching the same thing in the same way, at the same time, same place, same test, and everyone is compared to the group
TimeVariables Learning same thing in different ways, responding to a variety of learning styles
Process Options By degree and depth... pursuing special interests or talents. Doing serious research or an internship
Content Options Teacher, student, parents agree on what, where, when, how, and why
Personalize Content Provide more or less time depending on the student's needs
Student Choices Going beyond standard completion
Negotiated Learning Contract From teacher-constructed options
Student-Constructed Curriculum Teacher used only as a resource person

Teacher Centered -----Transfer of Ownership to-------Student Centered

Here content changed hands and I assumed so did the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of individuals. But teachers often don't. Thus what is called Student-centered should be called "Almost-Student-Centered." Teachers must view, and treat, students differently. All teacher decisions are made on the basis of: "Is this in the best interest of the student?" The answer must be an honest yes.

While talking with my son, he convinced me that student-centered and "almost" student-centered environments require a paradigm shift. Teachers must look at, and work with students differently when working in student-centered environments.

One of the attributes of the paradigm shift is shifting from a teacher-controlled environment to one in which the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of the individual become a cornerstone of the classroom.

Teachers can, and do, shift between the two approaches. To be as effective as possible with Native (all?) students, teachers need to create a classroom based in the student-centered realm. Here rights, responsibilities, and respect are the very foundation of the class. Students need to experience a sense of control over their lives

This paradigm shift also impacts upon many of our experiences and/or beliefs. Some that need to be revisited include:

  1. Win/lose situations,
  2. Why am I a teacher?
  3. What/how should I interact with students?
  4. Democracy




"Fringe" and Beyond Students

Rights, Freedoms, & Responsibilities



Role Model


Peer Pressure



"Open" Field trips

Extra-Curricular Activities

Consultation Commitment


Native Culture, values, etc.





The School is NOT Student-Centered When...

{many of these strategies are used in the school}

Love is...

Love is patient,
Love is kind.
It does not envy,
It does not boast,
It is not proud.

It is not rude,
It is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but
Rejoices in the truth.

It always protects,
Always trusts,
Always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

Love is not an "airy'fairy" concept. It is extremely practical. It is also non-sexual.
Love is caring turned into action.

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