A student centred approach to classroom management

The original and fundamental assumption behind this approach was that parents and teacher’s control children’s behaviour and this can have a very negative effect on child development. There is a long tradition in psychology that supports this type of classroom approach. A student centred approach intends to encourage independence and to allow children to choose their own behaviour.

in a student centered classroom the teacher:

  • allows the sharing of decision making and control of the class
  • allows personal and group initiatives
  • delegates the responsibility for behaviour to the learners
  • encourages active participation towards the fulfillment of mutual goals

understanding the nature of the problem is central to this approach:

  • identify the source of the problem
  • the teacher should be listening to what may be the underlying “problem/message” and not what appears to be the problem
  • encourage learners to speak openly
  • allow learners to change behaviour rather than reinforcing accusations
  • language development, thoughts, feelings, age, and reasoning ability, may restrict the teacher’s use of logical argument

this approach implies ‘active listening':

  • silence is golden and poowerful
  • listening shows willingness to help and accept. It is a powerful tool


  • prompt learners to express themselves
  • and then actively listen
  • afterwards, respond
  • look for ‘door openers’
  • help to enlighten ’cause and effect’

Prerequisites of student centered teacher:

  • trusts the learners’ ability to solve their own problems
  • genuinely accept students’ feelings
  • is with the students – shows warmth, compassion, feeling
  • encourages openness of feelings, emotions – is not be afraid of emotions
  • promotes privacy and confidentiality – builds trust and respect – eliminates gossip

a student centered teacher

  • mirrors student by feedback: clarifies; promotes inquiry, discussion and questioning,
  • allows learners to explore their feelings
  • allows learners freedom to think for themselves and provides minimal evaluative feedback.
  • do not judge, tell, probe or use lecturing style techniques.

The intended outcomes of the student centred approach:

  • promotes willingness to listen
  • promotes a greater sense of self-worth
  • creates more meaningful relationships between people
  • the teacher displays a caring attitude
  • discipline problems decrease significantly as relationships develop

The goals of discipline:

  • Because learners have more opportunity to decide how to learn individually, there should be a tendency to have less behavioural management problems.
    • Boredom and failure, two of the main causes of behavioural problems, are virtually eliminated.
  • The teacher is cast as a facilitator of learning, not a dictator of information. One who is seen as a reference, a guide, a source, and a guide to the growth and development of the intellectual child.

Using this method, traditional punishment and extrinsic reward discipline is largely diminished. Three proponents of the student centred approach are: Thomas Gordon, Abraham Maslow, Steven Krashen and Carl Rogers. In the TEFL world look at Rinvolucri, Chris Sion, Wajnryb, Paul Davis and A. Underhill.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.