Putting Students First: Rethinking Education Through a Student-Centered Approach

Putting students first can be one of the best moves a mentor can make. Rather than dictating the curriculum or lesson plan, why not let students help guide the process? Read on to learn why a student-centered approach to learning can reap the most rewards!

Improve Student Engagement and Performance

A key benefit of student-centered learning is the potential for stronger engagement. Giving mentees educational autonomy empowers them. It helps them see education as a way of life rather than a requirement when they can help determine projects and goals. 

Teachers or mentors can shape a more student-centered approach by working with students to create visual maps or outlines. This process helps students break down larger goals into smaller pieces. And it allows for a conversational exchange that helps students learn to articulate their ideas. 

Student-centered learning can involve incorporating more hands-on experiences or field trips. Or it may take the form of interdisciplinary projects where students have a hand in doing research. 

When student-centered learning ignites greater engagement, it sets the tone for better performance, too. Effective learning practices enable students to see how developing smaller skills, like researching, can impact their bigger picture. 

Help Students Become More Independent

Ultimately, any teacher, parent, or mentor wants a child to feel excited about learning so they can pursue it beyond formal educational settings. When you put students first as part of your approach to education, you can help nurture that interest. In other words, student-centered learning can lead to greater independence and lifelong learning. 

Students learn how to think and operate independently. They can set their own benchmarks for educational pursuits and career paths, for instance. And they can learn how to share ideas in ways that feel the most comfortable for them. 

Student-centered learning also allows for opportunities to learn from failure. If a student sets a goal and does not meet it, a teacher or mentor can help them unpack the process and understand what led to the challenge. This scenario also permits space for self-reflection and strategizing, both of which are transferable skills that will be useful in any situation. 

Put Students First to Maximize Educational Experiences

It pays to make the effort to shift from adult-focused learning experiences to student-focused ones. Let students have ownership of their learning experiences for maximum gains.

It’s important to note that students may change their minds about goals or content as a learning experience progresses. It’s equally important for adults leading the learning experiences to be flexible to accommodate their growth. Model patience and adaptability to help reroute their educational journey toward something that excites them.

At OhanaHC, we always put students first. With mentors as their guides, students learn how to envision a brighter future where they are in command. If you want to support young people in our community, we will help you find the best role. Please fill out the contact form on our website or email us at info@ohanahc.org to learn more!

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Ohana of Howard County, Inc. is following the CDC, Maryland, and Howard County recommendations to ensure the safety of students, volunteers, and staff. At this time, we will be moving to in-person programming and masks are optional. When appropriate, we will provide hybrid or virtual options for engagement.

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