A student centered classroom will incorporate a number of methods for collaboration into the learning environment as collaboration is an essential element of a student centered classroom. In order to facilitate collaboration students can be divided into differentiated teams that are comprised of students from different demographic groups and ability levels. An example is a classroom that is arranged in teams of four students and in each team a below average, low average, above average, and high achieving student.
While group seating may be one component of a student centered learning environment, collaborative work is another important element of a student centered classroom. Collaborative work may involve the class as a whole or work in smaller teams but in each case it is important that the students be involved in the process. Collaboration can begin at the beginning of the year by having the class work together to develop a contract that will have the rules, procedures, rewards, and consequences for the year. This way the students are actively taking a guided role in the administration of the class and will take agency in facilitating a productive learning environment.
Collaboration will take the form of group assignments. As collaborative learning is a process, it may be necessary to introduce collaborative learning gradually, beginning with small group assignments and gradually evolving into project based learning with groups working on various topics to create a group project. In each case it is necessary to have a group leader and differentiated elements to the assignment that bring different ability levels and interests into to assignment.
Through collaborative learning in a student centered classroom, students will develop a team centered approach to problem solving and take greater agency in the learning process and environment.
How Student Centered Is Your Classroom? (2015). Retrieved July 30, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-student-centered-your-classroom-rebecca-alber
Teaching Strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2016, from https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/teaching-strategies