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Learner-centered approaches to instruction

Hello colleagues, Some members will remember the wonderful Dr. Gail Weinstein, who had been a professor at San Francisco State University for many years. Gail developed a set of learner-centered principles and shared those with the field. Based on these principles, Gail oversaw the "Learners' Lives as Curriculum" instructional approach. Recently a group of practitioners in Delaware met to explore the issue of learner-centered practice. We reviewed Gail Weinstein's principles and engaged in many instructional activities. We discussed together how well the activities aligned with learner-centered practice.

Here are the learner-centered approaches to practice shared by Gail Weinstein (2004).

Learner-Centered Approaches to Instruction ...

1. require ongoing inquiry (listening to/learning about learners)

2. build on what learners know

3. balance skills and structures with meaning-making and knowledge creation [balance the teaching of grammar and skills with opportunities for learners to express their own ideas]

4. strive for authenticity

5. entail shared responsibility for learning among students and teachers

6. build communities of learners and practitioners

Which of these approaches most stand out to you? In practical terms, what might these approaches look like in the classroom? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

PS: For those interested in reading more on this topic, check out this resource in the LINCS Collection, Evidence-based, Student-centered Instructional Practice.

Reference: Weinstein, G. (2004). Learner-centered teaching in the age of accountability. CATESOL Journal 16(1), 97-110.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP