We all know how important education is in preparing students for our changing world. It is so crucial that educational communities remain committed to moving towards future focused learning that will prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. Rightly so, there has been a huge shift towards the incorporation of technology in the classroom and a strong emphasis on student-centred learning. Adapting our approach as teachers to engage our students is vital to how they absorb and retain knowledge. So how do we ensure our lessons are student-centred and have impact when it comes to virtual learning or blended learning?
The Importance of Student-Centred Learning
In our ever-changing world and especially with diverse groups of students, facilitating an approach that is inclusive and addresses the specific needs of every student is always likely to be most effective. In the most simplest of terms, the more engaged a learner is, the more impactful the teaching will be. Educator Julie K. Brown summed it up well in a Sage Journal, “student-centered instruction is when the planning, teaching, and assessment revolve around the needs and abilities of the students. The teacher shares control of the classroom, and students are allowed to explore, experiment, and discover on their own.” When students are enabled by doing and interacting, they become ‘active learners’ which helps to drive retention and empower their development. At TELLAL we know how effective these techniques can be in the classroom and there are a huge part of our Pedagogical Praxis Series and our High Leverage Teaching Practices.
Putting it into Practice, Virtually
As we continue to grapple with the realities of virtual and blended classrooms in the wake of the pandemic, teachers now face the challenge of retaining that student-centred learning focus online. Luckily there are lots of resources available and software programmes that can actually enhance our ability to cater to students needs. Khaled Farag, Head of Arabic at Dubai American Academy, has worked with his team to safeguard student engagement through their Learning Management System. As he shares, “it is a solution to meet the challenges of the educational process and facilitate academic achievement to achieve a better environment for our children, and within the framework of the global trend to activate distance learning according to behavioural educational standards.” Their approach provides more structure, facilitates greater communication and makes excellent use of online resources.
The Online Classroom
At DAA, the Arabic teachers conduct live lessons with time for students to work independently and ask individual questions specific to their needs. Each session is also recorded which enables students to revisit material they might be struggling with. The priority has been to establish clear intentions, enable student interaction and maintain continual assessment for student self-reflection and progress tracking to allow teachers to identify gaps in need of attention. The key elements for any teacher to consider when trying to enhance virtual learning are:
- Well-being – By monitoring and encouraging student well-being, you can create a more productive atmosphere for learning
- Communication – By utilising your resources to ensure constant and coherent communication with your students, they feel supported and engaged
- Interaction – By facilitated ways for your students to interact with you, the material and other students you can significantly improve their understanding and retention levels
- Engagement – By engaging your students in the way they learn and offering feedback on their performance, you instil a greater sense of accomplishment and a desire to improve
- Flexibility – By being prepared to adapt allows you to cope with unforeseen challenges and utilise different methodologies for different students as needed
- Progress – By tracking how students are doing, you can provide insightful tips and feedback, as well as keep a closer eye on their development and therefore spot areas in which individual students might need greater assistance
If you would like to talk to one of the TELLAL team about any of our courses or get help with Virtual Learning and student-centred learning techniques, please get in touch via +971 (0)4 403 5146 or firstname.lastname@example.org