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Student Centred Teaching

Department: Computer Science and Information Technology

Author: Prof. Pragati Sawant

Table of Contents

  • Need of Student-Centered Teaching
  • Overview of Student -centered teaching
  • Teacher Centered teaching vs. Student -centered teaching
  • Implementation of student-centered learning for Computer Algorithms course
  • Challenges Faced
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Student-centered teaching
  • Conclusion

Need of Student-Centered Teaching:

21st-century students are demanding an educational system that works for and with them. They are very curious, creative, eager to learn, and willing to try advance and new technologies. Therefore, it is necessary to shift from teacher-centred teaching where teacher focused on what they are teaching, to student centered teaching where teacher focused on what students are learning. As a teacher we must act as facilitators who empower and learn from the students. The students should take more active roles as learners and that our roles change, too. Student centric teaching provides an environment that engages the students allowing the construction of knowledge in a meaningful way by incorporating various interactive methods such as active learning, group learning, collaborative learning, experiential learning, etc.

Overview of Student-Centered teaching

The major concern of student-centered teaching approach is: Are they Learning? In sstudent-centred teaching student should be at the heart of our educational efforts. Students and teachers interact equally, instead of listening to the teacher exclusively. Since, group work is encouraged, students learn to collaborate, help and communicate with one another. Figure 2 shows the student-centered teaching approach.

Fig. 1: Student-Centered Teaching

It implies two main shifts:

  1. From thinking about what we teach to how and why we teach something to the students.
  2. From thinking about teacher’s performance to thinking about the student learning and learning processes.

Teacher Centered teaching vs. Student-centered teaching:

Traditionally instructors focused on what they are teaching, and not on what the students are learning. Student-centred teachings shift the focus from teachers to the students. In higher education student-centred teaching approach is increasingly being encouraged. In this approach teachers do not employ a single teaching method. However, a variety of different types of methods that shifts the role of the instructors from givers of information to the facilitator are employed. The instructor creates learning environments that motivate students for learning.

The major concern of traditional teaching approach is: We are teaching. Traditional teaching methods measure declarative knowledge. They neither address depth of understanding nor the skills that the students have acquired.

Fig. 2: Teacher-centered Teaching

Figure1 shows the traditional teacher-centered teaching. It is discipline-specific where students sit in rows and teacher teaches them which is required to pass the examination.

In short,Teaching refers: Transferring knowledge/experience and Learning refers: Acquiring Knowledge

In order to clarify the concept of Student-centred Learning, I shall compare it with more traditional way of teaching, usually called as ‘Teacher-centered Learning’ based on certain parameters. This may help you to clarify the notions of ‘Student-centered teaching’  and ‘teacher-centered teaching. Table 1 shows this comparison.

ParametersStudent-Centered TeachingTeacher-Centered Teaching
Heart of Educational SystemStudentTeacher
KnowledgeTransmitted from teacher to studentsAcquired by students
Learning EnvironmentStudent CenteredTeacher Centered
Student ParticipationPassiveActive
Role of TeacherLeaderFacilitator
Learning AssessmentOne-dimensional testing Few Tests, mainly for gradingMultidimensional Testing, Many Tests, for ongoing feedback
EmphasisLearning correct answersDeveloping deeper understanding
Performance StandardCompetitive approach, IndividualisticSupportive approach, Collaborative
Table 1: Teacher centered teaching vs. Student -centered teaching

Implementation of student-centered learning for Computer Algorithms course:

Following Teaching-Learning methods were used:

  1. Concept Map
  2. Rapter Tool
  3. Demonstrations/Group Presentations

Use of Concept Map

All of us might have heard about chinese proverb “One Picture worth ten thousand words” which means that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description.  

First of all, in order to give the inside picture of course “Computer Algorithms” in holistic manner with different dimensions concept map is constructed. It determines important concepts and relationships among concepts for Computer Algorithms course. It also explores student’s understanding of the subject and enhance meaningful learning. Concept map prepared for the course is shown in following Fig.3

Fig 3. Concept Map

Use of Rapter Tool:

This tool is used to help students to visualize their algorithms and  avoid  syntactic baggage. Flowcharts  are  created  and  executed visually  by  tracing  the  execution  through  the  flowchart. Following Fig4 shows the simple example algorithm created and executed using rapter. This algorithm determines whether the number is even or odd.

Fig.4: Algorithm creation and execution using Rapter Tool

Demonstrations/Group Presentations:

It is a collaborative learning strategy which gives opportunity to students to choose the topic of their choice from the syllabus or out of the syllabus. For this activity group of 4-5 students is formed asked to choose the topic of their choice. Students have demonstrated or presented the topic of their choice to the class. For demonstration they have prepared videos. Kindly refer the Sample Video of demonstration activity. Fig.5 represents the snapshots of demonstration given by student for merge sort.


Fig.5 Demonstration of Merge Sort

Presentation of the topic is given to the whole class. This activity helped students to collaborate with one another to breakdown complex topics to understand it in better manner.

Fig 6: Classroom Presentations

Advantages of Student -Centered teaching

  • Students effectively learn communicative and collaborative skills through group work.
  • Students learned to complete tasks independently.
  • Students interact with one another and participate actively.
  • Learning skills of the student are developed.
  • The roles of instructor became facilitative rather than didactic. 
  • The responsibility for learning shifts from the instructor to the students.
  • Student-centred teaching method uses assessment as a part of the learning process.
  • Learning becomes interesting and enjoyable.
  • students retained more of the concepts that they chose to address

Challenges Faced

  • Sometimes group work can become problematic as students prefer to work alone.
  • When students are working on different stages of the same topic then it becomes difficult for teacher to manage all students.
  • Some students may miss some information because the teacher deliver instructions to particular group of students.


After adopting this methodology, it was identified that students get more enthusiastic, motivated and curious to learn new things. Group activities encouraged them to demonstrate creativity, communication, and collaboration. Students became capable of accepting more responsibility for their own learning. As future teachers it is our responsibility to care about our student’s effective learning and try to teach them from all different aspects.