Student-centered Classrooms

Last week “Coach K” (Mike Krzyzewski) won his fifth NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship game as the coach of Duke University (second only to UCLA’s John Wooden’s historic ten Championships). Something he said post game during this year’s NCAA tournament has stuck with me. He doesn’t have a system that he expects his players to fit into; he creates a system based on the strengths and personalities of his players.

Is this what a student-centered classroom looks like?

How often do we try to fit out classes into a specific system/model? Do educators in a student-centered classroom first get to know the students? Once we truly know their strengths and personalities, then we can figure out how they best learn. How they best work together. How they best will achieve success. Just as not all teams are the same, not all groups of learners will be the same. Why would we expect the exact same system to work for everyone?

By creating a system based on our students, we can have student-centered classrooms that find ways for learners to have:

  • Authentic learning experiences
  • Ability to collaborate and learn effective communication
  • Opportunities for problem-solving, critical thinking, and expressing creativity
  • A safe, supportive environment in which students know they are genuinely cared for
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