A Guide to Student-Centered Curriculum

This is a curriculum model which is a bit milder than others with regards to authoritativeness. It is also very participation-based. For this curriculum structure, students get to pinpoint their own learning needs, identifying, choosing, and incorporating the provided resources so as to define/create their learning objectives on the basis of their actual interests and needs.     

In the student-centered curriculum, students are encouraged to identify what they are passionate about in the educational sphere, then follow these paths, so they can gain requisite knowledge, as opposed to all students memorizing/learning bits of irrelevant knowledge to their own goals/paths. With the information provided to the class and individual students, they are expected to tease the pieces and come up with individualized learning objectives.  

It then becomes obvious, with this type of constructivist curriculum, that students will be more vocal, investigative, and freely express themselves.  Good examples of common activities in this approach include engaging in open debates, composing newspaper articles, going on field trips, engaging in student-selected projects & presentations, as well as reflective writing on progress in learning. With this sort of activity, students are centralized, and their interest in the subject matter becomes heightened. 

Especially for those students with reduced ability to concentrate, these activities are purported to be very helpful. There is also research to prove how the establishment of valid links between students’ unique identities and how they learn encourages long-term information retention, continuous education, and the development of vital skills. 

The core curriculum, a kind of student-centered curriculum, is focused on the learner yet has many subject-centered features. More often than not, this approach groups subjects based on broad study fields, such as grouping geography, language, social studies, and arts into a field of study; while grouping physics, chemistry and math into another broad study field. The goal of the structural grouping of the core curriculum is to keep the student’s global development in view, and a consistent need to help the student gain “life skills.” There is an increased chance of finding this model being used in junior and middle schools, as opposed to high school. 

However, the activity-centered curriculum, another form of the student-centered curriculum, is more commonly used in high school settings. In this learning method, the activities are centered around the needs of individual students, and learning happens via questioning and problem-solving. Also, exhaustive lessons aren’t prepared by the teacher, as the students’ interests haven’t been probed. 

Hence, students’ questions determine the direction of flow in the class. This model might also involve the usage of categorized subjects; however, it involves a lot more student-teacher and student-student dialogues, as opposed to subject-centered curricula. Flexibility is a key component here. 

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