Op Ed

Student-Centered Best Practices

By Peter J.Foley, Ed.D. , editor-in-chief
Dr. Nancy Sulla’s recent article in SCLThailand advocates effectively the need for teachers to pave the way for students to drive their own learning.  In the author’s words: “the teacher must be able to differentiate instruction such that each student is working on challenging but achievable objectives.”

Coincidentally, as Dr. Sulla’s article appeared in SCLThailand, The Samsung Smart Learning Project was featured in THE NATION ( Monday, November 16, 201). The project, according to staff writer, Pratch Rujivanarom, “has been successfully implemented in Loei to try to encourage students to study what really interests them….”  The NATION newspaper article describes how at Phu Kradung Wittayakom School in Loei teachers teach the skills students will need to research and complete projects.  The project based model  seems to follow at least some of the principles laid down in Professor Sulla article in SCLThailand.  It would be very interesting to see if the Samsung supported project in Loei uses the scaffolding  methods and essential curriculum tools professor Sulla champions.  It is the opinion of SCLThailand that without these essential student centered learning components the Loei  project will be doomed for failure.

There are also caveats on relying too heavily on technology.  As Dr Chanpen Choprapawan, president of the Thailand Research Association for Child and Family Development warned,  too much reliance on technology is “not good for students.” Chanpen said that children should learn about the world around them using their five senses—touching, seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting.”

It would be well-worth investing in Dr. Sculla’s books to learn how to maintain a proper , balanced learning program using the full range of student centered learning teaching best practices. Dr. Sulla’s book : Students Taking Charge: Inside the Learner-active Technology–infused Classroom is particularly recommended.

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