Any Resources on Experiential Learning, or Being a Better Teacher?

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Hi Everyone,

In my ten year teaching career, I have come to realize I am naturally a better researcher and lecturer than I am with ESL classes. 

I guess that means I like teacher-centered teaching, where I spout off insight and wisdom, and always am weak in student-centered teaching.

1.  Can anyone recommend any really great Experiential Learning?

2.  Any other videos, tactics, etc. to make things student-centered?

For ten years, I have tried and failed to be more student-centered.  I really want to try.  Any advice or resources?


Re: Any Resources on Experiential Learning, or Being a Better Teacher?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 11:45:04 AM »
In a teacher-centered classroom a teacher presents lesson content to the students. In a student-centered classroom students experience the lesson content for themselves. Students can experience lesson content for themselves if the teacher can create what amounts to a rehearsal space. The teacher can create this experience in the classroom if they can produce some framework of activities that mimics the process of discovery. The most straightforward example is class discussions. You as the teacher will want to avoid leading the discussion. You will want instead to have introduced some set of skills that allows the students to lead the discussion themselves.

It's tricky in China because fostering independence and self direction in students amounts to assaulting their identity as students. They resist. As such, student-centered classrooms don't just happen. You either have to start up the class and fail most of the students initially or find some far more sophisticated staged procedure for introducing the skills of independence.

I used to do the former, and it typically took three semesters to be successful. The first semester would be very hard work - lots of silence, lots of resentment. About half to two-thirds of the students would fail. The third semester was always a gift though. The students would bloom. But that was tertiary level education and being that harsh as a teacher was - almost - acceptable. At least for a foreigner.

Re: Any Resources on Experiential Learning, or Being a Better Teacher?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2021, 12:17:57 PM »
Wild ass claim:

classrooms become more student-centered the more "meta" the students are required or enabled to be.

The more types of "speaking about what they are doing" that students are enabled to produce (and the more that type of speaking is rewarded or scored in class), the more they are doing the learning by themselves. You can do it as skills for thinking about what they are doing too, but that thinking has to be displayed in some assessable form anyway, so...

The big thing then is you're teaching skills over knowledge. Which, once again, is tricky in China, and maybe everywhere, because so much of "learning" is conceived in terms of knowledge that people, teachers especially, can be almost incapable of knowing what skills-based education is.