TEACHER – CENTERED AND STUDENT – CENTERED APPROACHES IN LANGUAGE TEACHING

“Again, I want to share my assignment of TEFL (Teaching English in Foreign Language). In here, I discussed about the differencess approaches between Teacher Centered and Student Centered. Please Read carefully.”

Teaching is one of the activities which happen in the classroom. In a teaching process, we know, there are many terms which have near similar meaning. So, people are sometimes confusing to distinguish them. The terms are teaching approach, teaching strategic, teaching method, teaching technique, teaching tactic and teaching model. A student and a teacher are people who involve in teaching process. In the finally of this process, students are hoped to get the knowledge and after that they can apply the knowledge to increase their lives qualities. There are many problems which happen in teaching process. One of them is many students which know or remember the lesson but they cannot apply their knowledge in their lives. It also happens in language teaching. Most of them know about the skill of the language but they cannot them when they must communicate in the daily activities. Because of this, many teachers change the paradigm in teaching process. They change the approach of teaching when they are teaching. Teaching approach is very important in teaching process. It is because teaching approach is the view to the learning process, which refers to the generally process in teaching process including containing, inspiring, and supporting. Besides that, the certain theory is also including to the teaching approach. Based on the approach, teaching can be divided into two kinds of approaches. They are students – centered approach and teachers – centered approach. Both of teachers centered and students centered are very different. A teacher – centered approach is one where activity in the class is centered on the teacher. While a student – centered approach is one of where activity in the class is centered on the student. The purpose of this essay is to compare advantages, disadvantages and also similar of students – centered approach and teachers – centered approach. The other purpose is also to contrast the function of the student and the teacher, types of activities and the class’s condition of in students – centered approach and teachers – centered approach.

There are many advantages in both of the students – centered approach and the teachers – centered approach.The main advantages of student centred learning is that the pupil has more of an active role to play in their learning.  In the studying of doing, these students can adapt the way they learn, to make their studies more effective.  Students can also learn from one another through co-operative learning, the ideal situation for this type group work is that weaker students should be placed with more able students to act as scaffolding, another advantage of this that it can help to build social skills and self-esteem and also students gain more emotional and cognitive support from their peers. In any classroom, there has to be a knowledge base. Teachers attend a class to receive degrees in their chosen field and become experts in that sphere of knowledge. It is acceptable then that the teacher who is already the expert in a subject should be the one to import that knowledge to the students. In a teacher-centered classroom, that is exactly what is happening. If students have any questions on a topic raised by a textbook, the teacher is present as the “expert” to answer questions   Another advantage of this style is that the information received from a teacher is more likely to be more accurate and reliable whereas if a student was working alone or in groups they may be learning the wrong things. Besides that, students – centered approach has advantages for both students and teachers. Students develop learning and other skills and gain meaningful knowledge that will help them throughout life. The relationship between rights and responsibilities is learned. Students discover that learning that learning is interesting and fun. Several have written in their course evaluations that they learned more because they were involved. Teachers have less work to do especially in the upper classes. Students are more attentive and willing to participate in the class. Complaints about irrelevance and unfairness decrease. Reports and papers generated by students increase a teacher’s collection of useful information.

In both approach, there are also disadvantages beside advantages. One disadvantage is that there are students who do not relate well to student – centered approach in spite of a teacher’s best efforts. This is most prevalent at the lower levels but can occur in upper level classes because there are many teaching style when the teachers teach. It makes for the students have the opportunity to learn in alternate ways in many other classes. Another disadvantage is that the students have to work in teams. They complain about being on teams but most often the complaints are accompanied by acknowledgments that they understand that they are preparing for “real world”. They appreciate real world experiences even when they do not like them. Also students find it difficult to work in teams because they have not been taught teams skills. Most teachers are not trained to teach team skills. It is different with students – centered approach disadvantages. The disadvantage of teachers – centered approach is that there is a lot of pupils in the classroom. The teacher has to be well organized and disciplined to control the class. The teaching space is cramped and not conducive to group projects. In most cases the furniture cannot be moved to accommodate the teaching of some subjects like literature. The biggest obstacle the teachers have to overcome is boredom among their students. As soon as boredom sets in, chaos ensues. The teacher has to know how to deal with talking, paper throwing and minor offences like poking each other or hitting. The teacher has to know the tell tale signs before this happens. The pupils eyes start wandering and they stop answering or asking questions. He or she has to change tactics and try to gain their interest again. In the classroom, there is not enough student to student interaction, especially of the classroom is teacher-centered. They are being lectured to all the time. It is difficult for each student to go at his or her own pace. There has to be some group study arrangement to remedy the deficiency in this area.

Teachers – centered approached and students – centered approached have also the similar of purpose. Both of them have the goal that by the teaching and studying process, students can get the knowledge and can understand the lesson or material which has studied. Other the same of purpose is the goal of learning which have been planed is able to reach. And the last purpose is the students can get a good mark and reach minimally target score.

On the other hand, the most notable difference between these two kinds of approaches is the function of the students and the teacher in teaching process. In student – centered teaching approach, student learning is the focus of the class. The student is more active than a teacher. The teacher is not a speaker. She is only as a facilitator. Besides that, the teacher is as a guide on the side for the students.  It is different with the student. In this approach, the students get the chance and facility to build his or her knowledge so they can understand by deep learning. On the other hand, in teacher – centered approach, teaching practices are the focus of the session. The teacher is to be an effective model of the target and an important source of information on how the students are doing. Besides that, in a teacher – centered approach, the teacher is more active than the students. The involving of the student is only minority. The student is only to be fundamentally passive. The teacher is responsible for transmitting all of the information to the students. The teacher talks and the students listen and absorb (or take a nap).  When the teacher teaches the language, the teacher should the focus of the classroom, since the teacher knows the language and the student do not.

Based on the activities, every approach has different activities. In the teacher – centered approach, the teachers always read the material or the lesson. After that they explain the material and the lesson to the student. In this approach, the duty of the student is only a listener. Instructions are also given to the students and they must do the instructions.  Besides that, the duty of the teacher in this approach is giving the information. The student must listen and record that information which is given by the teacher in their brain memories. The other activities of teachers in this approach are giving a lecture, giving the tasks and guiding the students in asking and answering activity. Every material or lesson that is taught will have to be evaluated, and if the learning is centered on the teacher teaching, the rate of learning will be apparent, and testing can be executed at the appropriate times. It is different with the student – centered approach. The activities of students are more active than teachers. The students are demanded to role play when there is a teaching process.  Writing by own words is one of the activities students in this approach.  This activity makes the student to be easy to understand the material because they must understand their own words. A student – centered environment is communicative and authentic. It trains students to work in small groups or pairs and to negotiate meaning in a broad context. The negotiation of meaning develops students’ communicative competence. Studying in a group is the characteristic of the student – centered approach. They try to solve the problem by discuss in a group. Every student can give the opinion freely.  In actual teaching, the student – centered mode has been to a great extent perceived as class centered or group centered teaching that does not deliberately concentrate on the individual learner.  After that they can make conclusion. The role of teacher as a facilitator is needed in order the student do not make mistake in makes a conclusion. The teacher must correct what is discussed by the student. Practicum is also the activity in student – centered approach. They can find or know the knowledge by themselves. Individuals’ emotions, personal beliefs, and talents are important consideration to do the investigation. The function of the investigation is to know the true knowledge.

The condition of classroom is also different between both of approaches. In the teacher – centered approach, the classroom is quite. Student always keep silent because they concentrate to the teacher’s explanation. They think that if they make a noisy, they cannot understand the lesson which is given by the teacher. Besides, they are afraid to the teacher. Even when the teacher gives the question, sometime there is no one student who answers the question. Contrast with student – centered approach, the condition of the classroom is often noisy and busy. It is because the students are active. They discuss the lesson or material one another so it makes the classroom to be noisy.  They work together to solve the problem. They give their opinion about the lesson. They evaluate their own learning. So there is no time for the student keeping silent.

Finally, I can conclude that both of the approaches student – centered approach and teacher centered approach have the advantages and disadvantages. It will be better if it is used at the suitable time. In studying and teaching process, a student and a teacher have the same composition. They must involve in this process.The teacher centred style is more associated with a more formal and direct way of teaching.  This style can help to ensure that students are learning what they need to learn, though the teacher telling them what to do and think, but by using this method there can be more control over the class and the amount of social distractions would decrease, leading to lower noise levels and possibly a higher level of academic achievement.  This is only dependant on the settings and also the teaching style may not be suited to some student.  This method is also more suited to shyer and insecure students. Other method is student – centered approach. The classroom setup of this approach does not rely on preset formulas or magical recipes; rather, it requires involving students in the teaching process. We discovered that success meant slowly implementing new techniques and thereby adapting students so they would understand lesson goals and objectives, value communicative tasks and activities, generate topics and choose materials, work cooperatively, and identify their own learning strategies and styles. A successful student – centered environment also requires frequent student feedback. We believe that such an environment can be achieved in any classroom context. In my opinion I think that in studying and teaching process need to be a healthy balance between the two styles, too much of one may lead to an imbalance in what the student may need to know and learn, and also I think that the student should distinguish what works best for them and help themselves to accomplish more though individual or co-operative learning if it is not provided in class. One of the most important things in teaching and studying process is the student can get and understand the knowledge.

Thanks for reading. Hope this can be beneficial for you to improve your knowledge.”

About Reza Ajie Saputra
I am a researcher of educational process. This blog has made to support my research.

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