Summary of The Learner-Centered Classroom and School

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Education professionals Barbara L. McCombs and Jo Sue Whisler explain why they believe that the “learner-centered” approach is the best way to engage and motivate students, and to revamp and revitalize schools. The authors explain the learner-centered educational philosophy and detail the ways that teachers and administrators can utilize this proven, practical approach. getAbstract recommends their guidance to school administrators, teachers, students and their parents, as well as to the policy makers who shape education.

About the Authors

Barbara L. McCombs is a senior director and Jo Sue Whisler is a senior associate at the Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL) in Aurora, Colorado.



Broken Schools

“This place hurts my spirit!” one student lamented about high school, and many others would agree. Often, today’s schools simply don’t work for students. Systemically, many educators believe education is in serious trouble. The problems they diagnose in the US are also common in other countries. Dropout rates are up; minority and low-income students perform poorly. At-risk students have terrible attendance and graduation rates; many students undervalue education and demonstrate no motivation to learn.

Traditional education no longer works. Exhausted or undertrained teachers go through the motions, but students lack a viable support system to help them learn. Students say they care about learning, but that their teachers don’t give them what they need. Spurred by frustrated parents, government officials demand that educators revamp local school systems to help more students succeed.

A Better Approach

The “learner-centered” education model focuses on learning and learners. It prioritizes discovering new ways for teachers to communicate with their students as individuals. This motivates the students and helps them build a strong sense of connection...

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