Student centred learning is an theory that seems to have gained popularity in education communities over the years.
Wikipedia defines this type of learning as “putting students first … focused on the student’s needs, abilities, interests, and learning styles with the teacher as a facilitator of learning. Teacher-centred learning has the teacher at its centre in an active role and students in a passive, receptive role. Student-centred learning requires students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning.”
I would describe the blogging program that occurs in my classroom as largely student centred. Many students are very active on the 4KM and 4KJ blog both at home and school. Their enthusiasm for learning and connecting through the class blog is high.
I’ve had many teachers comment on the way that the students in my class respond to blogging. I’ve also seen many teachers set up class blogs assuming that the blog will motivate students to become active participants in their own learning. Some teachers believe that they can set up a blog and the students will drive it to success. This is not the case.
I believe the success I have with student centred blogging occurs because our program begins as teacher centred.
Kelly Jordan and I team teach. From Day One we are blogging cheerleaders. A day doesn’t go by when we’re not exploring blogs and celebrating the wonderful connections and learning that can occur through blogging. We present ourselves as role models in the blogging community; demonstrating quality commenting and safe internet use. We acknowledge and promote students as they too generate excitement for blogging by commenting and getting to know their blogging buddies.
When we were teaching Grade Two, Kelly and I exhausted ourselves by replying to all the comments on the class blog for the first few weeks of the school year. It didn’t take long, however, until we were no longer needed. Students began replying to comments without being asked and from then on, we could let them take charge of that aspect of our class blog.
I see my role as a teacher to get the wheel spinning. Slowly the students can jump on the wheel and, as they generate momentum, I can begin to decrease my central role. I’ll always be a cheerleader but I can steer the blog from more of a distance while making way for students.
Many of the successful blogs that I follow also adopt this approach. I’m yet to find a regularly maintained blog with a large community of followers and high quality posts and comments that doesn’t have an enthusiastic teacher behind it. That teacher may now be in the back seat somewhat, but they were certainly in the driver’s seat to get the blog going.
10 Replies to “Student Centred Blogging”
I agree with you and this post puts into words some of my recent thoughts on student blogging. Great visual aid too!
I have had numerous class blogs before and they all start teacher centred and then the magic gradually occurs. Any initial spark could be quickly extinguished without this teacher enthusiasm.
This year, I see it on a micro scale, having a class blog which branches out into 29 individual student blogs. Each student blog’s success so far corresponds to the student’s own excitement for blogging.
I wasn’t sure if everyone would agree with that so it’s nice to hear you find the same approach works for you.
I’m so glad to hear you’re having success with student blogs. I look forward to checking out your work.
Thanks for stopping by.
I follow your blog and I think that it is a fine example of student centered learning. I think your students engage with and use the blog because it is theirs and something within school that they can control their level of engagement with. I imagine that students who are not so confident in the classroom have maybe found their voice on the blog knowing that it is a safe place to share their thoughts and learning. This is an interesting example showcasing the potential of our students and what they can do when encouraged and guided rather having everything prescribed to them.
Why do you think students started responding without being asked to? Also to what extent to you edit/filter the students’ blogs?
Many thanks for your great work!
Thanks for taking the time to comment!
I have definitely had quiet kids or average kids who just fly under the radar really find their voice through blogging. That is so rewarding!
Why do I think students responded without being asked? Hopefully it’s because they felt a strong desire to maintain a home school connection and they also found it rewarding to engage in a conversation with other people.
I don’t edit student blogs at all but I monitor them to make sure nothing inappropriate is going on. Students only earn their blog if parents as supportive as I have found it doesn’t work otherwise and I can’t always have my eye on everything that a student blogs about. You can read more about how I go about student blogs here if you haven’t already.
I couldn’t agree more with your observations. Having had a teacher centred blog last year due to time constraints, there is such a big difference in an emerging student centred blog that is happening. My enthusiasm coupled with their excitement and a real desire to communicate and respond has made our blog begin to feel more like the students are running it, which I LOVE! Hand over the reins any day and let me be the cheerleader (and occasional monitor!)
It’s great to hear about your comparisons from maintaining a specialist blog to a class blog where the children can get really immersed in it and take ownership of their online space.
Don’t you just love stepping back sometimes and seeing how enthusiastic the kids have become. Seeing kids loving learning is just amazing!
Oh yes, monitoring is important as well as cheering – good point!
I saw this mug on the Lark website and thought of you straight away. The link is above, if I’ve done it properly. The mug reads “I blog therefore I am”.
That is so cute and too perfect! If only I drank tea or coffee, I’d have to get one!
Thanks for thinking of me 😆
[…] This post explains the advantages of student centered blogging. […]
[…] Here is one from a teacher in Australia who, it seems, blogs with a teacher in California as part of their elementary curriculum (seems like fourth grade but the AU system might be a bit different). The post itself isn’t particularly practical; it talks more about some of the general issues around blogging. But the link to the class blog itself is quite interesting. Even the most recent post, about her trip to the US to meet her blogging partner for the first time, gives a good sense of how the blog works. And it raised some questions for me about what a blog-used-with-a-class should or could look like. […]