Developing Learning-Centred Classrooms and Schools

When schools eventually do return they will need to change to get children re-engaged! Chris Watkins suggests important starting points for the journey from teacher-centred to learner centred classrooms, and then identifies the sort of language for learning which will go on to develop learning-centred cultures in classrooms and schools.

One of the most curious things about life in classrooms and schools is how little it focuses on learning. Since classrooms appeared on this planet 5,000 years ago they have been characterised by teacher-driven activity systems. In those Sumerian classrooms where boys were learning cuneiform writing, the teacher inscribed syllables into the first rows of tablets of clay, the boys then had to inscribe their version, at which the teacher corrected their attempt, turned the tablet over and did some more. That form of relationship is described as the IRE cycle: Initiation – Response – Evaluation, and research of the last fifty years continues to find it as a dominant pattern in current classrooms 2/3.

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