A child-centered approach to learning and education is being brought into focus all around the world. In a child-centered approach to learning rather than an adult or teacher-driven approach, the teacher will act as a facilitator and mentor. In this way, students become active learners rather than passive listeners. A child-centered approach moves away from a traditional approach of education which was heavily tilted towards a teacher-centric approach and heavily relied on lectures and explanations by the teacher. It also discourages rote-based learning and traditional methods of testing and examinations.
A child-centered approach to learning and education nurtures a student’s whole being and also helps students have mutual respect for others and respect each person’s individuality, freedom and space. Students in a child-centered approach reflect, inquire and discuss and set their own learning goals with the help of the facilitator or mentor teacher. They may collaborate in groups to learn and apply their learning or learn individually according to the goals and plans which are set by them. Thus, they learn to be responsible learners and are able to take their own initiatives based on their own individual needs and learning styles and patterns. At the same time, they are open to inputs and insights from others as all learning is done through inquiry, discussion and meticulous planning and application. In a child-centered approach, students usually do not rely on a single textbook. They will discuss concepts with their mentor and also further explore concepts using library, internet resources, and field trip interviews and visits. They may then plan and do projects which have real-life applications like designing a model solar power plant or addressing pollution issues and health hazards in their immediate neighborhood. Evaluation and assessment in a child-centered approach to learning and education have more formative methods of assessment. Formative modes of assessment may include presentation of a project in a forum, field trip reports, writing reviews and analysis, writing and enacting a drama or play, and discussions and debates with reflections on the same. A-child centered approach to learning thus helps students to learn in a meaningful manner, become innovative and engage deeply in the learning process with the teacher acting as a mentor and facilitator.