The Effects of Student-Centered Learning: IMPACT OF STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING

Jennifer Brown and Jo Ann Sumbry
Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, Tuskegee University

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a student-centered learning environment on interest in science.  This area of focus complied with the beliefs of action research because it involved teaching and learning, was within this researcher’s control, and a part of her pedagogy that she wished to improve. The following research questions were presented in this study; (1) Does a student-centered environment positively impact student interest; and (2) If students are more interested in science, will they consider choosing a career field that involves science? Additionally, this study involved two experimental groups of 10th grade Applied Physical Science students.  Group 1, the researcher’s first period class, contained 22 students—14 males and 8 females. Seventh period, group 2, contained 14 students—8 females and 6 males. Only one student in each of the classes had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  During the research study, students were engaged in student-centered learning activities such as cooperative learning groups, inquiry labs, and Socratic seminars (Chowning, 2009)Students completed a survey, which determined whether the student-centered activities impacted their interest in learning science and choosing a career in science. Also as part of this study, the researcher observed four teachers in other non-science classrooms who were conducting similar activities.  Eight teachers were asked to answer four survey questions to help me determine the pros and cons of a student-centered learning environment.