Learning - Centered Instruction: A Rationale

The Department strives to make its program of Developmental Language Arts learning-centered rather than purely subject-oriented. Therefore, learning-centered instruction is used to implement the mandate of Developmental Language Arts. This method represents the conscientious effort on the part of the instructors to adapt their teaching techniques to the learning styles of each student. Individualizing involves diagnostic testing at the outset and achievement testing at the conclusion of the educational experience as well as meaningful goal-setting, self-pacing, and directed learning. The inherent flexibility of individualization allows for a variety of teaching methods: conferencing, short lecture, demonstration, discussion, small-group interaction, and process learning; in fact, such an eclectic approach is one of the tenets of learning-centered instruction.

Foremost, of course, is encouraging and maintaining a personal, caring atmosphere in the classroom, since the medium may indeed be the message; consequently, there is no substitute for effective one-to-one relationship between the student and the instructor. A successful practitioner of learning-centered instruction must be not only flexible and resourceful but also sensitive and perceptive. Instructors must know with what resources they have to work and the various uses they can make of the materials, always recognizing that what will work with some students will not work with others. In addition to required tests, for example, the following are available: handouts, transparencies, slides and tapes, films, audio and video cassettes, and computer software.
Finally, the goal of learning-centered instruction is to motivate and inspire the student. This can be achieved if the student and instructor have established mutually acceptable goals, if the student is working energetically at his/her own pace, and if the instructor adequately explains the purpose and value of each learning task. Although the general objectives and course requirements are stated as part of each course description, the commitment of the Department is to be learning-centered and to help developmental students become independent, self-motivated, successful learners.