Student-centered or Teacher-centered Instructional Paradigms (A Strategic Choice)

Most practitioners lack the essential knowledge and skills required to optimize their instructional programs.  Yes, that is true!  As was suggested in my previous posts, the dilemma is perpetuated by a top down administrative hierarchy which sanctions the use of generic textbooks (and standardized assessments).  Furthermore, teacher training initiatives are too frequently based on capricious schemes that fade into distant memory–sooner, rather than later.  Yes, that statement is also true! Harsh words, ouch!

Given ideal conditions (and essential knowledge) it is likely that most practitioners would initiate a dichotomous framework of learning experiences in their classrooms.  So what does that statement imply?  Imagine a “light switch”–when you enter a room and flip the device–light appears.  When you leave the room, another flip and the room darkens.  When we initiate the process of instructional design our strategic “choices” can be that simple.  However, I must stress that such choices are often made when developing a curriculum.  So, it really is not that simple!  When “we” rely upon pre-packaged curriculums (such as textbooks) and the means that are associated with these materials, “we” perpetuate failing schools.

Practitioners ought to be given the freedom to develop curriculums (and instructional mechanisms) that enhance the educational experiences of all students.  They should be provided with opportunities to “flip the switch” that determines when student-centered paradigms are employed and/or teacher-centered mechanisms (including texts) are initiated.  Practitioners must be provided with information about the usefulness of both strategies and be trained to initiate each of these paradigms.  The decision-making process involves determining if a component of your curriculum is “technical” or “non-technical”.  When constructs are technical in nature, practitioners ought to employ lesson plans which enable them to demonstrate (technical) procedures or convey concepts and principles.  However, non-technical curriculums are best administered via student-centered mechanisms which compel students to develop higher-order thought processes (i.e. analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).

Want to learn more about initiating a dichotomous framework in your school (district)?  My works are published via smashwords.com: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kennethfetterman

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Filed under Classroom Management, Curriculum and Instruction, Education, Instructional Design, professional Development, School Reform Initiatives & Professional Development Strategies, Teaching

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