A student centered approach is one where students are directly involved in the discovery of their own knowledge and learning. Through collaboration and cooperation with others, students engage in learning that is authentic, holistic and thought-provoking. During this process, students are empowered to use their prior knowledge to construct new learning. Curriculum and assessment are centered on meaningful performance in real world perspective. Teachers are not the leader, the children are. Teachers act as a partner in learning, creating organized and cohesive experiences to assist students in making the real world connections. The main culture of curriculum that best relates to developing a classroom that is student centered is that of Constructivism.
For this reason, careful research and understanding of what the standards are asking educators to teach is required. Houck (2008) informs balanced literacy is a combination of teaching methods and strategies involving both whole language and skill development. Used correctly, balanced literacy has the potential to meet the needs of all students at their own individual level. All components of reading, including phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, speaking and listening, and writing are taught using this framework. Balanced literacy provides instruction by various methods. The use of read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, word study, and writing are all used to provide students with a release of responsibility model in which they go from guided to independent work (Frey, 2005). The need for all components of reading to work together in order for comprehension to take place makes balanced literacy an instructional reform plan worth implementing (Beringer & Abbott, 2010).
Summary of chapters: Tompkins, E Gail. (2014). Literacy for the 21st Century A Balanced Approach
Just as the needs of students vary teachers methods of instruction should vary. Meeting the literacy needs of students should be done through a wide variety of instructional strategies that meet the needs of students and meet the requirements of a balanced literacy program. The following information shares 12 instructional procedures to be used in a third grade classroom. The procedures are from the Tompkins’ Compendium shared in the text Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach (6th ed.).
Teachers are under a great amount of pressure to meet mandated academic benchmarks and goals, starting at even the earliest grade levels. They struggle to provide an environment for learning that is “evidenced based” and “adequately prepares children to succeed” (Burnett 146). Despite this pressure put on early childhood education teachers and students to keep up, research shows that children flourish in a play-based, discovery centered environment. In an article for The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Sarah Burnett states that the constructivist theory, first proposed by scientist Jean Piaget, is recognized by many early childhood education organizations as the “most appropriate and effective avenue through which children learn” (147).
My philosophy is that I want to provide children with the best education possible. Every student has the ability to read and write, but all students are going to have different ways of learning. Some strategies will work better for some than others. It is my responsibility to find creative and fun ways to spark their want to learn. I believe to be effective in literacy instruction and assessment I have to develop strategies that balance vocabulary, reading and writing. I think with these three components including a positive learning environment that my instructions will be effective. I believe by providing students with instructions, modeling, guided practices, and independent practices; that
Balanced Literacy provides the foundational structure and scheduling for delivering the North Carolina English Language Arts curriculum in kindergarten through eighth grades. Balanced literacy along with our scope and sequence defined in our pacing guides enhance vertical and horizontal
Literacy instruction and its challenges, changes and suggestions are the themes of the three chapters. Mainly, the important points evolved around overcoming obstacles, which face the students in their literary career. Additionally struggle areas, non-informative teaching comprehension strategies and viewing literacy in mere archaic thinking.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” (Hellen Keller) “Two heads are better than one.” (John Heywood) “ More hands make for lighter work.” (John Heywood) These adages speak to the potential groups who have to be more productive, motivated and creative than individuals on their own. Should high school classes require group work? Group work can help students develop a host of skills that are increasingly important in the professional world. Working in groups creates a share of diverse perspectives, develops a stronger communication skill and helps tackle more complex problems than one could do on their own.
The idea of group work has been increasingly integrated into the learning process today. Teachers now allow more group work among students. Allowing to do so gives the students more freedom and thus a cushion like feeling that
Student-centered classrooms that create ways for students to demonstrate their understanding of learning activities show that students are willing to be more engaged and take on risks in classroom activities when they feel safe (Black, 1999). The teaching for understanding proponent of the Iowa Core’s “Characteristics of Effective Instruction” from the Iowa Department of Education (n.d.) encourages students to think in a provoking way. Teachers need to utilize
I used to believe that I did not perform very well in groups. I am an observer who likes to learn alone. I thought I learned best when I worked on my own. Even though I always knew group work had many positive values, I was more comfortable with the lecture-based approach and resisted group work merely because it involved change, not because it had a collaborative learning approach. However, during the learning community project, I came to realize that I learn more effectively when I work in groups. Working in a group was like an adventure for me; there were both exciting and challenging times while preparing for the learning community project.
For as long as I can remember, reading and writing have played a major roll in my life. Since the beginning of starting school, the subject of literacy has been stressed for importance and branded into my mind as the one skill you’ll need for every single aspect of your life. Children are introduced to this lovely and fun idea of reading with picture books that are pleasing to the eye and depict animal characters with a soft moral lesson present in the stories. At this age that is the extent of reading children will perform and writing is limited to simple sentences with short words that often misspelled. Soon after this stage of reading is mastered in a testable manner of fluency, the cute illustrations that you they so loved began to decrease and the words develop and increase in number. It is not long until you are introduced to longer and longer stories and passages that are now strictly about humans, their feelings, memories, and opinions. That time between learning how to read and learning how to truly write seems to have flied by, looking back now. As a currently enrolled junior in high school my understanding and feelings towards literacy have greatly changed since the time I was a young child.
Through a balanced approach, educators make decisions on individual student’s literacy needs and select appropriate instructional activities with the goal of developing, value, comprehension, and enjoyment of reading (Cowan, as cited in National Education Psychological Service [NEPS], 2015, p. 8). However, research concludes there is no definitive description of what a balanced approach to literacy means and they all have similar elements. To put it another way, effective educators of reading instruction offer a print-rich balanced reading program that incorporates explicit and systematic instructions in concepts of print, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. These reading skills develop as educators model and scaffold engaging activities, for instance, read aloud’s, shared, guided, and independent reading, rhymes, and songs. These activities are the underpinnings of a successful literacy program (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2006, p. 155). A balanced reading approach also provides students opportunities to repeat and practice skills as educators observe and assess student’s abilities. Therefore, educators must explicitly instruct literacy skills from foundation to year twelve because they are essential to academic growth.
Literacy is the cornerstone to all learning; it is imperative to future academic success. (Tracey and Morrow, 2012). Due to the significance of literacy instruction, there are a myriad of ways to teach literacy. Literacy is a complex subject, honing in on balancing reading, writing, speaking, and listening. As a result of the complexity of literacy instruction, we arrive at the age-old debate of what is the best literacy instruction. My philosophy of literacy instruction centralizes around the Whole Language Theory and Balanced Literacy; however, I also blend in additional theories/approaches to teach effective literacy.