In the ‘traditional’ approach to teaching and learning, the heavy lifting of designing and communicating learning tasks falls primarily on the teacher. In student-centered instruction (SCI), much of this heavy lifting is shifted to the students, promoting important self-reliance skills. SCI is an approach to teaching and learning that includes the following practices: using active learning strategies instead of lectures, assigning open-ended tasks that require 21st century thinking, engaging students in authentic experiences, involving students in decision making regarding how they best demonstrate learning, and using self-paced and/or cooperative learning. In ‘traditional’ instruction, the teacher's primary jobs include lecturing, designing assignments and tests, and grading. In a student-centered environment, the teacher still does these important tasks, but also provides opportunities for students to learn independently and from peers as well as coaching students in the skills they need to learn effectively. When used appropriately, SCI facilitates increased motivation to learn, greater retention of knowledge, deeper understanding, and more positive attitudes toward the content and the work involved in learning.


This course provides teachers with an in-depth exploration of how student-centered instruction can extend and enhance the learning of students in grades 6-12, improve 21st century skills, and engage reluctant learners. Moreover, teachers will learn how SCI can be used every aspect of effective teaching and learning, including planning, management, assessment, and meeting the needs of diverse learners. By the end of this course, teachers will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to successfully and appropriately implement SCI into their 6-12 classrooms to increase student achievement and engagement. They will also learn strategies to help students become independent learners who can create, explore, discover, problem solve, and innovate while fostering the 21st century skills they need to thrive in college and careers.