It is ere difficult to answer inasmuch as everybody has a vision about it but these visions are totally differing from person to person. According to me, a good teacher is opened towards the students and learns together with them, he/ she has a sense Of looking for value and positive things in each Of the students including the problematic ones. As Mr.. Ward said “The great teacher inspires”. The word” inspires” is essential because not all the teachers has the ability to inspire the students to do or feel something, especially to do something creative in his or her learning.
Nowadays, new methods and quenches are easy to be found which can help the teachers or future teachers to be as good as possible. Books, courses and even lectures are about how to be a successful teacher. The problem is that although the world has changed around us, the schools have not changed at all. Here in Slovakia Republic the teaching strategies are more or less obsolete. My opinion is that traditional teaching is outdated and we should be able to open towards the new teaching types and strategies. The teaching practice at schools is surprisingly resistant to change.
When started to read books and essay paper in connection with the topic of “student-centeredness”, found a Hungarian web page that was dealing with the educational reform and the disadvantages of traditional teaching. There was a quite long article which discussed the educational system and its weaknesses. The article was written by Dry. Spencer Kananga who is a world renowned author and keynote speaker in the field of education and psychology. He wrote that unfortunately in many parts Of the world – whether it is a large city in an industrialized large country or a small town in a poor country – the teaching techniques are surprisingly animal.
Of course there are some exceptions for instance Finland, Sweden, England or Germany where the educational system is highly developed and they focus on the student- centered teaching. What the student-centered teaching is? It is very complex. While the traditional teaching strategies are based on the typical teaching where there is transmission of knowledge from the teacher to the students, the student-centered teaching is much more creative and professional and last but not least it is more effective. Mound a really good picture about the student centered- teaching that is not happily in our schools at all. Traditional teaching, the transmission of knowledge directly is the strategy that can be found in mostly every school in Slovakia. Student centeredness is not a new concept for me. My parents put a great emphasis on my studies so they supported me to have private lessons from English language during my childhood and also later at the gymnasium. Had the lessons with an amazing teacher. He was a super teacher and I loved his lessons very much.
While at gymnasium the teaching was absolutely traditional he had a totally different teaching strategy, what call student centered- teaching. I never felt like an object but rather as an important part Of his teaching. He always appreciated me. According to him every student and every human being is unique so through my personal strengths he had shown me a new experience as a student. This was an experience that helped me to decide to come here at this faculty. Unfortunately, most of the teachers have the same teaching strategy as had their teachers.
The second picture put in my essay is a very good example which shows the reality. Our teachers are not motivated enough to change the ongoing system in education, so the result is that at the end of a day the students are full of new information, they are tired and do not learn for the next lesson. They get too much information without any interesting elements. The student-centered teaching is the opposite of it. The students are active participants of their own learning process; they are having fun while they get the required new information.
A student centered teacher never emphasizes the weaknesses of a student but rather his or her strengths. For example, if in a classroom there is a student who is a problematic one (have ADD, is hyperactive, etc… ), the student centered teacher always have to find something that this students is good at. The teacher can ask that student to close the door because he or she is so fast. These small positive charges help the student to get better and better. Not once occur that these students become the best in their classroom. Student centered-teaching puts a heavy emphasis On self- discovery.
It means that the learners are not given the information directly by the teacher. They are rather entered on to the solutions or new information. The teacher fulfills an important role as a partner. He or she is rather a facilitator not a director. Very important thing is that the teacher should be able to learn from the students. They are also the sources of information not just the teacher can give it. The student – centered teaching has many advantages. A key point is that the students, who are taught by this type of teaching strategy, are more creative and active during the lessons.
Many researches were done on student centeredness and they show that it lead to improvements in students’ performance. The general problem is that it is very difficult to fulfill all the requirements at school. The students get too much new information that they have to learn for the next lesson, so they lose their driving force in learning. The learners have not acquired the techniques which help them efficiently to multiply their knowledge. In consequence the experience of failure became dominant and it affects the way they feel, their motivation at school.
According to my understanding the main aim of student centeredness is to improve the abilities of students to find their strengths in learning. According to me it is also very important to develop teaching methods and also requirement systems that can be adapted to the capabilities of the learners. Of course as everything, student centeredness has also some dangers. If a teacher would like to have a detent centered classroom he or she should be able to be patient and wait for the students to produce. Eve met many teachers who would ask good questions, wait, get nervous over the silence, and then answer the question her/himself.
This one of the failures that a student centered teacher should avoid. My personal experiences show that patience is a virtue. As the proverb says “good things come to those who wait”. This is the second year that teach small children. I have two cute learners who are siblings and they always come together for the lesson. The boy is just six years old while the girl is ten. For the first time it was quite a difficult thing to work together but now it is super. When I started to teach them I was absolutely beginner and did not know how to behave with them. Even did not know what to teach them. Gradually we got to know each other better and better, so now it is fantastic. The girl is a problematic child at school; she has ADD, so maybe this caused the problem for me. She is hyperactive and needs more attention as her brother. Started to read about these problems and once I found a very good article about ADD where there was mentioned the student centered teaching also. Dead that these children are keen on moving and jumping all the time. They need to experience something so it is not enough for them to sit on the chair for forty-five minutes.
When they came the next week, I taught them in a creative way. We learned the name of the animals. I bought a colorful pesos with some basic animals on it. Their task was to stand up and choose a paper from the cards. They had to act it Out with pantomime. They had to move and jump and so on, so they really enjoyed it. The next week they came again and both of them knew all the words from the cards. I was really happy to see this kind of improvement. Maybe that was the first time when I met with student centeredness and its positive effects on students.
During our lessons in the last six weeks we discussed the student centeredness. I have drawn some conclusions regarding the advantages of it. There would be many other advantages but according to me these are the most important ones. From the previous lessons I remember that when we talked about whether we want to be traditional or student centered teachers. Everyone said that he or she wants to be student centered. It is a nice plan but I don’t really know how it is feasible in our schools? The cruel reality is that in Slovakia the teachers are much underpaid.
It is a little bit unfair with them because they learn a lot during their studies; they make difficult exams to become teachers and after the graduation when they get a job the low salary have a negative impact on them. As a result of it, they lose their motivation and spirit in teaching. In other countries which are much more developed regarding the education, the teachers have very good salaries. They have enough motivation; they have also enough space to teach according to the best strategies so the results are better also. Other problem s the curriculum which the teachers have to follow and keep precisely.
This is the problem at public schools. In the private ones, there are much more possibilities. In most of the cases the parents choose the private schools rather because they offer something new, something more interesting. I was doing my teaching practice at a school in Brasilia which was a public one. Saw the problems that mentioned above. My trainer at that school was a really dedicated teacher. She told me about the biggest problems that the school has to face with. The teaching practice was good for me to see that if I veer become a teacher, I really do not want to work at a public school.
Their opportunities are limited. Unfortunately, the education in Slovakia is not very developed. Solutions for these problems are not easy to be found. The students come into the classroom with the same attitudes and expectations as the society in which they live. They simply do not understand that education will not occur if they do not get involved. They do not understand that their education is both their responsibility and their right. The good news is that fortunately not all the students are like that. Many of them are very Uris’s, eager to learn, and willing to do whatever it takes to learn.