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The Learner Centered Model Of Teaching And Learning
Miercuri, 08 Februarie 2012 00:00



Prof. Popescu Mihaela

Colegiul Tehnic Mătăsari, Gorj



The learner-centered model of teaching and learning is the method emphasizing the goal of the current teaching process, i.e. the development of communicative competence. Although the teacher-centered model of teaching and learning may still seem attractive to some teachers, it is necessary that all teachers should introduce the new model of teaching and learning into classroom activities. There are some useful guidelines for introducing the learner-centered approach to teaching and learning, all contributing to an enjoyable teaching experience based on a dynamic classroom environment and on motivated learners.

Keywords: learner-centered model, communicative competence, teacher-centered model, classroom activities, motivated learners, real-world language skills.



Nowadays, many professional teachers seem to agree that applying the learner-centered approach to teaching and learning is essential for good teaching. Despite this fact, the older teacher-centered model is still used presently be it by teachers considering the old model attractive or by beginning teachers falling back on an outdated teacher-centered model for teaching and learning. In what follows, I will offer a brief outline of the two models of language teaching and learning underlining the necessity of introducing a new learner-centered model into classroom activities.

Thus, the older model of language teaching and learning, i.e. the teacher-centered model, views language learning as a product of transmission: teacher transmits knowledge and learner is simply a recipient. In other words, the teacher is responsible for transmitting all the information to the fundamentally passive students. Overall, there are several reasons for which the teacher-centered model may still be attractive to both elder and beginning teachers: it is the method by which they themselves were taught; the teacher being the focus of the classroom seems logical, since he/she is the knowledge holder; it involves little teacher preparation since he/she simply presents the due lesson content to the passive students who then proceed to do the lesson related exercises.  However, two major drawbacks prompted by reflective teaching practice can be attributed to the old model of teaching and learning: only a minority of students are involved in actual language learning; despite knowing about the language, students cannot develop real-life communicative skills

Therefore, a different model of teaching and learning, perfectly matching the current goal of teaching, i.e. the development of communicative competence, was designed to overcome these drawbacks. Significantly, the learner-centered model of teaching and learning emphasizes language learning as a process of discovery: learners develop ability to use the language for specific communication purposes. In other words, teacher models language use and facilitates students' development of language skills. In this learner-centered model, both students and teacher are active participants sharing responsibility for the students’ learning. The instructor models appropriate language use and, then, students themselves use language in practice activities simulating real communication situations. This active, joint engagement of students and teacher leads to a dynamic classroom environment defined by a rewarding and enjoyable teaching and learning experience.

Surely, students accustomed to a more traditional teacher-centered instruction may firstly resist the learner-centered model underlining their involvevment in the learning process. However, on discovering that they can develop real-world language skills while having fun, students usually become enthusiastic participants. There are several guidelines helping teachers make learner-centered instruction part of their own instructional approach: provide appropriate input, use language in authentic ways, provide context, design activities with a purpose, use task-based activities, encourage collaboration, use an integrated approach, address grammar consciously, adjust feedback/error correction to the situation, include awareness of cultural aspects of language use.

As shown in this article, the learner-centered model of teaching and learning is the method reflecting the goal of the current teaching process, i.e. the development of communicative competence. Even though the teacher-centered model of teaching and learning may still seem appealing to many teachers, teachers should try to introduce the new model of teaching and learning for an enjoyable teaching experience defined by a dynamic classroom environment and motivated learners. Lastly, some useful guidelines for introducing the learner-centered approach to teaching and learning may be useful into classroom activities for all teachers involved in the actual teaching process.



Beretta, A. (1991). Theory construction in SLA: Complementarity and opposition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 13 (4), 493-511.

Brown, D. (1994). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Regents.

Chamot, A.U. (1995). The teacher's voice: Action research in your classroom. ERIC/CLL News Bulletin, 18 (2).

Doff, A. (1988). Teach English: A training course for teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. (1991). The practice of English language teaching. London: Longman.


Ultima actualizare în Miercuri, 08 Februarie 2012 08:51

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