Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Student-Centered Approach to Teaching English Language: Students' Voices & Choices

Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Student-Centered Approach to Teaching English Language: Students' Voices & Choices

Article excerpt

Introduction

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of the students who are enrolled in the higher educational institutions in Sudan in the last two decades. Apparently, this enormous increase in enrollment is not accompanied by 'modern' ways of getting everybody on board i.e. the deeply- seated traditional modes of teaching are still dominating the educational scene without getting most of students (if not all) engaged in various classroom's activities. Not too long ago, and up to the present date, most teachers whether in the primary schools or higher institutions of learning hold the view of poor performance of students to a lack of motivation and 'indifference'. Hence, teaching is viewed as transmission/reception activity, and perhaps the role of the teacher is' knowledge passer'. All crucial decisions as regards to the 'teaching' process emanate from the teacher.

In the traditional classroom culture a difference is clearly made between a teacher who dominates the whole scene (she/he acts as the only source of knowledge), and only (some) higher performers who always sit in the front seats do the most tasks while the others feel that they are excluded and as a result turn to do other things that are entirely far from what goes in the class.

Student-Centered Approach to Teaching English language

Learner-centered teaching (LCT) and student-centered teaching (SCT) are used interchangeably.

As Hall and Saunders (1997) stated:

Student-centered teaching is grounded upon basic principles that can be summarized as follows:

* The learning responsibility lies in students themselves.

* Engagement and participation are necessary for learning.

* The teacher's role is viewed as a facilitator (p. 2).

The learner's image of herself/himself is different because of the learning experience. In short, student-centered learning is about helping students to discover their own learning styles, to understand their motivation and to acquire effective study skills that will be valuable throughout their lives. Similarly, Edglossary.org, (2014) defines learner-centered teaching as follows: The term student-centered learning refers to a number of educational programs, learning experiences, instructional approaches, and academic-support strategies that are meant to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students and groups of students.

To attain this goal, educational institutions, teachers, guidance counselors, and other educational specialists may employ a wide variety of educational methods, from modifying assignments and instructional strategies in the classroom to completely redesigning the ways in which students are grouped and taught in a learning situation.

Additionally, Gibbs (1992) offered a useful definition of student-centered learning. He stated that student- centered learning, "gives students greater autonomy and control over choice of subject matter, learning methods and pace of study" (Gibbs 1992, p. 23). This view highlighted three core characteristics of student- centered learning by promoting the idea that students should have more input into:

* What is learned?

* How it is learned, and when it is learned.

Similarly, Leo in (2007, p. 2) emphasizes that learners can work at various times, they may be working alone, into groups, or they can pair and share in a student-centered class in order to attain or accomplish the following tasks:

* learners can work alone to prepare ideas, taking notes before a discussion, accomplishing a listening task, doing a short written assignment, or working on grammar or vocabulary exercises

* In a learner-centered class, students work in pairs or groups to compare and discuss their answers, or reading and responding to each one's written assignments and propose possible improvements

* Learners can work collaboratively in discussions or role plays, views, sharing their ideas and experiences

* In a student-centered class, learners can interact with the teacher and the whole class, asking questions or brainstorm to get ideas. …

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