Teacher Centred Vs Learner Centred Methods | Teaching Aptitude

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teacher vs student centred UGC NET
teacher vs student centred

Here, you will learn about the teaching styles especially, teacher-centred and learner-centred (student) centred) approach of teaching. You will also get the concept, pros and cons, comparison between teacher vs student-centred approach and some other methods of teaching.

Teacher centred and Learner centred methods

Teaching Method

The term “teaching method” refers to the general principles, pedagogy, and management strategies used for classroom instruction.

Teaching Style

Daniel K. Schneider thinks that teaching style refers to the teaching strategies and methods employed, including the use of certain kinds of rhetoric.

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The term itself has no agreed definition but the more widely accepted definitions refer to it as:

“a set of teaching tactics” (Galton et al, 1980)

“instructional format” (Siedentop, 1991)

“the general pattern created by using a particular set of strategies”

Anthony Grasha (1996) identified five potential approaches for classroom teachers:

  • Expert
  • Formal Authority
  • Personal Model
  • Facilitator
  • Delegator

Comparison of Five Teaching Styles

Style Description Advantage/ Disadvantage
Expert Possesses knowledge and expertise that students need. Strives to maintain status as an expert by displaying detailed knowledge and challenging students to enhance their competence. Concerned with transmitting information and ensuring that students are well prepared. Advantage: The information, knowledge, and skills such individuals possess.

Disadvantage: If overused the display of knowledge can be intimidating to inexperienced students. May not always show the underlying though processes that produced answers.

Formal Authority Possesses status among student because of knowledge and role as a faculty. Concerned with providing positive/negative feedback, establishing learning goals, expectations, and rules of conduct. Concerned with “correct, acceptable, and standard ways to do things.” Advantage: The focus on clear expectations and acceptable ways of doing things.

Disadvantage: A strong investment in this style can lead to rigid standardized ways of managing students and their concerns.

Personal Model Believes in “teaching by example,” establishes a prototype for how to think and behave. Oversees and directs by showing how to do things and encouraging students to observe and then emulate the instructor’s approach. Advantage: The “hands on” nature of the approach. Emphasis on direct observation and following a role model.

Disadvantage: Some instructors believe their approach is “best” leading some students to feel inadequate if they cannot live up to such expectations and standards.

Facilitator Emphasizes the personal nature of teacher-student interactions. Guides students by asking questions, exploring the option, suggesting alternatives, and encouraging informed decisions. Develop student capacity for independent responsibility. Works as a consultant on student projects and provides support and encouragement. Advantage: The personal flexibility; the focus on students’ needs and goals; the willingness to explore alternative courages of actions to achieve goals.

Disadvantage: Style is time-consuming and ineffective when a more direct approach is needed. Can make students uncomfortable if not used in a positive and affirming manner.

Delegator Concerned with developing students’ capacity to function autonomously. Students work independently on projects or as part of autonomous teams. The teacher is available at the request of students as a resource. Advantage: Contribute to students perceiving themselves as independent learners.

Disadvantage: May misread students’ readiness for independent work. Some students may become anxious when given autonomy.

Behar-Horenstein (2006) and many other studies distinguish between:

  • Teacher centred
  • Student-centred (Learner Centred)

Daniel K. Schneider doesn’t feel that these 2 dimension reflect more recent theory. E.g. modern socio-constructivism (typically associated with “student-centred”) is very much teacher-led and can be highly scripted. In other words, it may be more interesting to talk about the amount of scaffolding, monitoring and tutoring provided.

Moston and Ashworth (1986) define according to Doherty (2003) a list of teaching methods.

  1. Style A (Command) – teacher makes all decisions.
  2. Style B (Practice) – Students carry out teacher-prescribed tasks.
  3. Style C (Reciprocal) – Students work in pairs: one performs, the other provides feedback.
  4. Style D (Self-check) – Students assess their own performance against criteria
  5. Style E (Inclusion) – Teacher planned. Student monitors own work.
  6. Style F (Guided Discovery) – Students solve teacher set movement problems with assistance.
  7. Style G (Divergent) – Students solve problems without assistance from the teacher.
  8. Style H (Individual) – Teacher determines content. Student plans the programme.
  9. Style I (Learner Initiated) – Student plans own programme. A teacher is an advisor.
  10. Style J (Self Teaching) – Student takes full responsibility for the learning process.

Teacher-centred Method

In teacher-centred methods, students put all of their focus on the teacher. You talk, and the students exclusively listen. During activities, students work alone, and collaboration is discouraged.


  • When education is teacher-centred, the classroom remains orderly. Students are quiet, and you retain full control of the classroom and its activities.
  • Because students learn on their own, they learn independence and make their own decisions.
  • Because you direct all classroom activities, you don’t have to worry that students will miss an important topic.


  • When students work alone, they don’t learn to collaborate with other students, and their communication skills may suffer.
  • Teacher centred instruction can be boring for students. Their minds may wander, and they may miss important facts.
  • Teacher centred instruction doesn’t allow students to express themselves, ask questions, and direct their own learning.

Learner-centred Method (Student Centred)

When a classroom operates with student-centred instruction, students and instructors share the focus. Instead of listening to the teacher exclusively, students and teachers interact equally. Group work is encouraged, and students learn to collaborate and communicate with one another.


  • Students learn important communicative and collaborative skills through group work.
  • Students learn to direct their own learning, ask questions, and complete tasks independently.
  • Students are more interested in learning activities when they can interact with one another and participate actively.


  • Because students are talking, classrooms may often be noisy or chaotic.
  • Teachers may have to attempt to manage all students’ activities at once, which can be difficult when students are working on different stages of the same project.
  • Because the teacher doesn’t always deliver instruction to all students at once, some students may miss important facts.
  • Some students prefer to work alone, so group work can become problematic.

Teacher Centred and Learner Centred

Comparison of Teacher-Centred and Learner-Centred paradigms

(According to Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses by Huba and Freed 2000)

Teacher-Centred Paradigm Learner-Centred Paradigm
Knowledge is transmitted from professor to students Students construct knowledge through gathering and synthesizing information and integrating it with the general skills of inquiry, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving and so on
Students passively receive information Students are actively involved
Emphasis is on the acquisition of knowledge outside the context in which it will be used Emphasis is on using and communicating knowledge effectively to address enduring and emerging issues and problems in real-life contexts
Professor’s role is to be primary information giver and primary evaluator Professor’s role is to coach and facilitate Professor and students evaluate learning together
Teaching and assessing are separate Teaching and assessing are intertwined
Assessment is used to monitor learning Assessment is used to promote and diagnose learning
Emphasis is on right answers Emphasis is on generating better questions and learning from errors
Desired learning is assessed indirectly through the use of objectively scored tests Desired learning is assessed directly through papers, projects, performances, portfolios, and the like
Focus is on a single discipline Approach is compatible with interdisciplinary investigation
Culture is competitive and individualistic Culture is cooperative, collaborative, and supportive
Only students are viewed as learners Professor and students learn together

Teacher Centred and Learner Centred instruction

(According to Assessing Academic Programs in Higher Education by Allen 2004)

Concept Teacher-Centered Learner-Centered
Teaching goals Cover the discipline Students learn:

– How to use the discipline

– How to integrate disciplines to solve complex problems

– An array of core learning objectives, such as communication and information literacy skills

Organization of the curriculum Courses in catalogue Cohesive program with systematically created opportunities to synthesize, practice, and develop increasingly complex ideas, skills, and values
Course structure Faculty cover topics Students master learning objectives
How students learn Listening


Independent learning, often in competition for grades

· Students construct knowledge by integrating new learning into what they already know

· Learning is viewed as a cognitive and social act

Pedagogy Based on delivery of information Based on engagement of students
Course delivery · Lecture

· Assignments and exams for summative purposes

· Active learning

· Assignments for formative purposes

· Collaborative learning

· Community service learning

· Cooperative learning

· Online, asynchronous, self-directed learning

· Problem-based learning

Course grading · Faculty as gatekeepers

· Normal distribution expected

Grades indicate mastery of learning objectives
Faculty role · Sage on the stage · Designer of learning environments
Effective teaching · Teach (present information) well and those who can will learn · Engage students in their learning

· Help all students master learning objectives

· Use classroom assessment to improve courses

· Use program assessment to improve programs


  • https://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/which-is-best-teacher-centered-or-student-centered-education/
  • https://www.archive.jfn.ac.lk/OBESCL/MOHE/SCL-articles/Academic-articles/20.Teacher-centered-vs-learner-centered-paradigms.pdf
  • https://www.montana.edu/gradschool/documents/Teaching-Styles-handout.pdf
  • https://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Teaching_style

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