New Teacher Tips - 10 Ways on How to Plan a Student Centered Lesson

You hear snippets of student conversation in the hallways or perhaps during lessons. You chuckle with them or to yourself. Maybe you even make a comment to them that's agreeable. No doubt - this kind of scenario strengthens the teacher-student relationship and class dynamics.

But in my mind, the real connection to students comes with learning. As Anthony Cody says, "put the student in the driver's seat." I like that metaphor because it implies many positive things regarding how students can take control over the learning process.

Here are 10 ways to plan a student-centered lesson. You will gradually enhance your classroom management techniques when you provide quality content that is student-driven and centered. By doing so, you also put thefocus on your students instead of on yourself. These links below have been classroom tested for many years with my students. Be aware however, that some of the questions and/or content may not be suitable for some of your classes/groups of students, so adapt accordingly. Good luck!

1. Learn your learners. Ask students what topics they enjoy learning about. You can distribute a survey or simply have them look in their textbook. Use the results to plan your first unit.

2. Distribute a student attitude survey. Googles these and see what you come up with. Use the results to create an individual student profile.

3. Gather learner feedback pages.

4. Get to know your students as quickly as possible. Google "How well do you know your students?" or "Get to know you activities" and you'll plenty of activities that you can suit for your own class.

5. Encourage sudents to reflect on their lessons.

6. Provide opportunities for students to self-assess themselves using rubrics you custom design based on your students' skills and abilities. is an excellent resource for all teachers.

7. Provide as many opportunities as possible to enrich your curriculum using alternative assessment such as projects and performance tasks. Such learning tasks create a positive learning atmosphere because they focus on what the students can do and cater to their interests/learning styles. Students are also more likely to learn when they are motivated about a topic.

8. Encourage students to ask questions. Whenever possible, provide guiding questions that encourage students to thinking about a process they have just learned.

9. Provide students with opportunities to work with their peers using group and pair work. Social goals are connected with educational goals, which should be weaved into the curriculum and lessons as often as possible.

10. Ask students to give you feedback on how to improve the lessons. Note of caution: Don't do this just yet if you have still a shaky relationship with your class. Strengthen your class dynamics, classroom management techniques and student-teacher relationships and then ask students for their feedback. Use these simple questions to guide you:

1. What worked? (in the lesson)
2. What didn't?
3. What's next? (What part(s) of the lesson can be improved?)

If you have any other ideas for involving students in the learning process, please

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Dorit Sasson is a freelance writer, educator and founder and director of the New Teacher Resource Center.