We use the term “learner-centered” to refer to environments that pay careful attention to the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs that learners bring to the educational setting. This term includes teaching practices that have been called “culturally responsive,” “culturally appropriate,” “culturally compatible,” and “culturally relevant” (Ladson-Billings, 1995). The term also fits the concept of “diagnostic teaching” (Bell et al., 1980): attempting to discover what students think in relation to the problems on hand, discussing their misconceptions sensitively, and giving them situations to go on thinking about which will enable them to readjust their ideas (Bell, 1982a:7). Teachers who are learner-centered recognize the importance of building on the conceptual and cultural knowledge that students bring with them to the classroom (see Chapters 3 and 4).
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This different approach to looking at the learner-centered education focuses on people with disabilities in the classroom. The abstract summarizes: “The issues involved in the instruction of college students with learning disabilities and offers a practical approach to teaching these students.”
Vella, Jane Kathryn and Jane Vella (2002). Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach. San Francisco, CA: Wiley, John & Sons.
“12 basic principles of adult learning that transcend cultural differences… [including] seeing the learner as decision maker in the learning process, building relationships for open communication, inviting participation by learners in goal setting through needs assessment, honoring cultural perspectives, and realizing the accountability of the teacher to the learners.”
Vermilye, Dyckman W. (1975). Learner-Centered Reform. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. [Available at USC]
Weimer, Maryellen (2002). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. San Francisco, CA: Wiley, John & Sons.
“Coverage includes an overview of relevant literature on learning, changes associated with learner-centered education in five areas: the balance of power, the function of content, the role of the teacher, the responsibility for learning, and the purposes and processes of evaluation—and key issues in implementing the learner-centered approach.”
Woelfel, Kay D. “Learner-Centered Education: Implementing the Conceptual Framework – Moving From Theory to Action.” Education. 124 (1) [17 pages]. 2003.