Child-centered learning usually references a classroom where the environment is designed in order to invite and motivate children to explore, learn and discover. Similar to educational theories and methods, child-centered learning is more of a philosophy where an idea is taken and used in various ways in the classroom. For example, in a child-centered classroom you may see many learning centers and child-friendly learning opportunities. There will be open-ended art supplies available, educational toys, opportunities to discover new concepts and more.
Here is an example of a child-centered learning area:
One ironic, but important result that student-led learning creates is in the collaboration between peers. Allowing for student-led learning often creates an atmosphere of teamwork and collaboration by default. This is in large due to the collective curiosities of members of the classroom. Students of all ages in all types of classrooms are able to come together to communicate their interests and explore their curiosities about certain subjects. A group of children can present an idea and then build upon it in different ways until they reach the point of needing further assistance or instruction. At this point they will often rely on the strengths of their peers to problem solve or test theories.
Teachers can use cooperative peer learning to enhance the lessons that are presented. This often teaches children to exercise critical thinking and to scaffold their collective knowledge for the greater good of the task at hand. This peer learning also benefits English Language learners and students with executive functioning difficulties.
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