How do you introduce Student Centred Learning to students?


Many of our students have been “playing the game of school” and are used to being told what to do in class. A student centred approach lets them work on their own pace but how do you introduce this to students so that they are effective and not overwhelmed? What strategies, formatives, games, etc do you use? Do you do a gradual release and how do you do that?

Looking forward to hearing what you have to teach us!



I think one step you can take is to partner with students in understanding how they learn so that you are both on the same page from the get-go. A few questions I might ask at the beginning of the year are:

  • “What are memorable moments you have from school in the past?”
  • “What’s something from class last year that you remember enjoying?”
  • “What’s something from class last year that you remember not enjoying?”
  • “When did you find it challenging to participate in class?”

For some students, it might be tough for answer certain questions on a learning styles inventory (“ex:I learn best when…”) since it may be hard for them to make the connection between their past experiences and defining who they are now. In these case, questions that jog their memory (like the ones above) might shed more light on how they learn and lead to greater understanding for them. You can use this data to inform the ways you make learning student-centered (ex: giving them choices, when to provide them with support and when to let them run with it, sharing their opinion about how their learning is applied in the classroom and beyond).


I don’t have an ‘introduction’ planned, but I do start offering ‘choices’ quite early in the year. I have a few short selected tasks and then a list of different options a student can do afterwards. I also try to have some open-ended questions early in the year as well. I want students to know that there is not just ‘one way’ to do things; as long as their methods are mathematically sound AND they can explain how they worked it, full credit is awarded. I love to point out different ways students can work the same problem and get the same answer… or give them an ‘answer’ and have them derive a way to generate that answer.


I agree starting to build relationships, getting to know learning styles, and setting goals important from the get go. I spend at least 3 or 4 classes trying to develop report, set expectations, and get to know students. Always looking to set classroom atmosphere to introduce student centered-learning and more.