When teachers enter the learning space they have to consider the ways they may teach those looking to gain information from them. The most traditional approach to teaching has been the teacher-centered approach. Now, what is the teacher-centered approach?
The teacher-centered approach is a teaching method where the teacher is the main source for providing information and the learners are passive listeners. The goal of a teacher-centered approach is for the teacher to be the sole provider of transferring his or her knowledge to the student and to be the primary evaluator of the success of the information being transferred.
A Teacher-centered approach can be designed in 5 steps – 1) content, 2) learning activity, 3) assessment, 4) learning objective, and 5) learning goal.
1.) Content – What Do I Know That Is Important in This Field?
The first step in understanding the teacher-centered approach is for the teacher to discover what valuable information they may have and how they can share that information with others. This step can be accomplished by focusing on the material the teacher has studied, have expert experience with, or has academic achievements in.
This first step is the reason why the students are coming to the teacher and/or to their class in the first place, to gain expert insight into the information that they can then understand as well.
This step allows for the teacher to have control of the information that is going to be given and for the focus of the lesson to be on the teacher. The teacher is able to have better classroom management because they are able to set the time and place of the lesson, the expectations and rules of the classroom, and the overall objectives and goals of the lesson that they will be teaching.
The teacher-centered approach allows for the teacher to lead by example for the students, and the students will in turn observe and replicate the structure that was set and demonstrated by the teacher.
2.) Learning Activity – How Can I Organize All of This Content?
Once the teacher knows what information is important to teach, the next step is establishing a way to organize the information that is going to be given to the learners. The information can be organized through lesson planning, low-tech devices, or high-tech- devices.
If the teacher were to create a lesson plan, the planner could include the main goals and objectives of the lesson, the points that need to be included in each lesson, and any additional materials that students may need to bring or materials may need to provide to them.
If a teacher were to use technology to organize content, a low-tech device would be a pen, pencil, or images to organize the material that will be taught. The teacher would also give low-tech devices to students to take notes while listening to the teacher. Low-tech devices would include textbooks and workbooks for the teacher to use as a reference when teaching the students.
If a teacher were to use a high-tech device to organize content, they would use a computer, projector, or various remote control appliances to organize content. High-tech devices can be used for teachers to provide pre-recorded lectures, or digital quizzes and exams to communicate and assess students’ progress in the class.
Organizing the content is the fountain of the teacher-centered approach because though the teacher understands the content, being able to successfully share the information in an organized style will result in overall successful retention of the material.
3.) Assessment – How Can I Test What I Taught?
After the lesson is taught the teacher creates assessments to track the progress of the students and how the students are retaining the information given. This step is critical because it guides the teacher in how well they are able to effectively teach the content. Two ways that assessments can be done are as a formative and/or summative style.
A formative assessment is done whilst the lesson is in progress. Formative assessments are usually low or no point value where the main focus is to help the teacher recognize where the student is struggling. Formative assessment can be done through short surveys, quizzes, or reflective essays. This assessment is usually quick and creates immediate results.
A summative assessment is used to evaluate the learner’s progress at the end of a class which often results in higher stakes or point values. Summative assessment can include a final project, a midterm exam, or a recital of information. This assessment usually takes longer in preparation from the students and can take longer for the teacher to see results.
Both of these assessments are useful for the teacher because it allows him or her to adjust how the lesson is being taught and what materials and content should continue to be used or be discarded.
4.) Learning Objective – What Did I Teach Them in This Unit?
Once the lesson has been taught and students have been assessed, the teacher will then ask what was taught in the unit as a whole and will use the results to evaluate whether the learning objective has been accomplished. A learning objective can be established during the organization of the lesson. Learning objectives should be brief, clear, and provide specific statements of what learners will be able to do at the end of a lesson as a result of the activities, teaching, and learning that has taken place.
The teacher’s focus in this step is to gather the summative assessment and based on the teacher’s expertise. The teacher will assess whether the objectives were successfully accomplished in the unit and lesson. This step allows for the teacher to reflect on the information they know and the information that still needs to be included.
Some questions to consider during this step would be, Was the information given successfully provided? Did I talk about all the information I needed too? Was there something I left out? Did the students understand the information I gave them? What piece of information did they not understand?.
All of these questions can be asked during this step in order to reflect on what was actually taught in the unit. If the objective of the unit was met, the teacher was able to teach successfully using the teacher-centered approach. If the learning objective was not met, by results of the amount of information that the students were not able to retain or information that was not taught during the unit, then the teacher can revise or edit any future lesson plans or discussions.
5.) Learning Goal – What Did I Teach Them in This Class?
The next step is to focus on the class learning goals. This is where the teacher evaluates whether what was taught during the class was met. This step differs from step 4 because it allows the teacher to evaluate whether the class as a whole has achieved the end results of the lesson being taught.
This is an important step because it would allow the teacher to reflect on what the goal of the lesson is after each class meeting. They can ask, what has been covered? and what else should be learned going into the next class meeting?
Tracking the progress of the goals set for the classroom is a great way to set expectations for the students but to also organize the content that is being provided. The teacher can utilize the formative assessments to see if the goal of the instruction is being received by the students after each class and then adjust the content to fit the overall learning goal.
Final Thoughts – What Is the Teacher-Centered Approach?
Having a teacher-centered approach to education is where a teacher can demonstrate their knowledge of the content they know and share their passion with others. The teacher is able to share their knowledge with others in order for those in the class to better understand the content. This teaching method allows for the teacher to be a model of what is expected and to be understood about the subject taught.
The teacher-centered approach is not only used for teachers in a school. The teacher-centered approach can be used outside of a classroom environment, such as, at a job orientation or even learning a new hobby. A teacher centered approach can be useful in many areas of life especially when the proper steps are taken to approach this teaching style.
So if you are looking to include this teaching method in your classroom or looking to share your knowledge on any subject, think of this teacher-centered design to develop your lesson and show off what you know!
Recommended Further Reading: What are the Advantages of the Teacher-Centered Approach?