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Week 2: Learner-centred teaching

9. The challenges of learner-centred education

Despite the justificatory narratives you discussed in Activity 2.5 there is some critique of learner-centred education in the literature, suggesting that it is a Western world view which is being imposed on other cultures (Tabulawa, 2013).

The argument of this section has been that it is a set of attitudes and values that align with those of UNESCO and ‘The Rights of the Child’, rather than a specific prescription for how to teach. Teachers can embrace these beliefs in many different ways. Nevertheless, in some cultures these attitudes and values represent a significant shift from cultural norms. In some cultures children are taught not to express a view, or not to challenge someone older; young teachers are expected to follow the lead of those with more experience and people who are different in some way may be considered inferior or even cursed.

Activity 2.8 Challenges presented by LCE

Allow approximately 1 hour for this activity.

You will need the article: Is learner-centred education best practice?

Consider the following questions and write your responses in your study notebook

  1. Look back at the continua that you examined in Activity 2.3. Which one presents the greatest challenge to you as an educator? Why do you think this is? What could you do to overcome these challenges?

  2. Think of the context in which you work as an educator or have worked in the past. Was there evidence of the attitudes set out in the continua? What changes are needed in your school to help teachers move to the right-hand side of the continua?

  3. Read the section of the article entitled: What does the evidence tell us about the implementation of LCE? What critiques help to explain this? Look at the bullet-pointed list in the article of the challenges of implementing LCE as a policy. Write notes on the following questions,

    • Which of these are underpinned by unhelpful attitudes towards learners?
    • Which are relevant in the context in which you work? 
    • Which of the challenges are you as an individual able to do something about, and what would you do?

Write a short forum post, identifying the challenge which is most relevant to your context and how it might be addressed.