Teacher-centered teaching versus Student-centered teaching

01 Mar

What is the difference between teacher-centered teaching and student-centered teaching?

To some, they are the same. One argument goes like this. Whether it is teacher-centered teaching or student-centered teaching, the focus is about students’ learning. So therefore the teaching is student-centered regardless of whether it is teacher-centered teaching or student-centered teaching. Sounds right! right?

Well, here is the flaw in the argument. Here we are assuming that the outcome is the only thing that matters – that is, the students’ learning. The main difference between teacher-centered teaching and the student centered teaching is in the process of teaching – how we go about teaching. Student-centered teaching engages students  in the learning process whilst teacher-centered teaching is intended for mostly information transmission. So teacher-centered teaching may not engage the students that much during the learning process; students often passively listen and take notes in teacher-centered teaching.

The tables in the following hyperlink  summarizes the differences clearly.


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13 responses to “Teacher-centered teaching versus Student-centered teaching

  1. ögretmen

    March 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you for the source. I hope everyone takes advantage of this source. Very Useful Information sharing your blog. Expect posts and more. Thanks

  2. learnr

    April 4, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    You are welcome! Thanks for the kind words- it is encouraging and keeps me going.

  3. developergirl

    May 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I agree that the two have the same outcome, but I think the bigger question is which method is most effective in retention of information and knowledge creation. I would assert that student-centered learning is most effective for this because the student actually have to apply the knowledge.

    I also have a blog about education and would love to hear your thoughts on some of the topics discussed.

    • learnr

      May 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

      Thanks developergirl for your comments.

      I am supportive of student-centered learning for the reasons you have pointed out.

  4. ronda scarrow

    June 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks so much for the information. I am also a fan of student centered.

  5. smhardina

    June 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    This has been the question for a long time and will continue to be. There are a couple of questions I ask my fellow teachers… What is learning? and What skills are students going to need in the 21st century?

    • learnr

      June 29, 2011 at 7:45 am

      Hi Smhardina

      Thanks for a great question- actually 2 questions
      What is learning? and What skills are students going to need in the 21st century?
      Let me see if I can do this for the next post 🙂

      • learnr

        November 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm

        I have been attending a couple of conferences,and I want to update on this soon….

  6. Dawn

    July 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    My district is integrating 1:1 learning at the high school level for the coming year, and 8th grade science teachers were given laptop carts for our classes and will be expected to implement the 1:1 learning as well.
    I have been trying to figure out how to make the switch from traditional learning and make sure I dont just give the same old material in a different medium. It does require a shift from teacher-centered to student-centered learning, and I have been trying to find ways to do this successfully. It’s harder than I thought to let go of traditional beliefs about a teacher’s role in the classroom. Any suggestions?

    • learnr

      July 23, 2012 at 1:49 am

      Hi Dawn

      You are absolutely right that you do not want to be giving the same old material in a different medium.For instance, we tend to give the power point slides as it is or pdf material that we used to use in traditional classes online. But this may not drive collaborative learning.

      I think that there needs to be an alignment between the intended pedagogy and practices.

      From what I hear, the challenge seems to be in letting go of the traditional role of teacher. It was not clear whether this was from the perspective of the tutor or the student. In fact, both needs to be considered and sufficient support needs to be provided to trigger the change in mindset.

      An open discussion with students and tutors .. and may be even parents about learning and learning to learn may help the situation and you may discover things that will guide you in the process. Perhaps you want to ask them what they see as the role of technology in teaching .. do they still expect to use traditional teaching, the advantages and disadvantages etc.

      Hope that helps and best wishes. Do keep us posted :-).



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