Certainly, learner-centered is not a new term. In fact, it has become trivialized or, at best, it has become anecdotal. Education gives the term a position in the school arena, but not a power position. To add insult to that injury, the term experiential learning has become an additional trivialized goal of value. The result, when it works, is a program which is an experiential learner-centered practice.
To convey the teaching/learning experience to an even greater level of understanding, one must recognize that Piaget (1763) defined intelligence as the ability to adapt to a new more current situation. In order to adequately adapt, a learner will need to have adequately gathered accurate information from a primarily verbal and visual environment. This environment, by its nature, is highly stimulating, sensorially enriched, and a primary deficit for the learner who suffers central processing deficits or sensory integration disorder.
The efficiency with which these learners must gather accurate information is so completely compromised that the anxiety resulting from performance expectations may even result in swift actions of medications to treat hyperactivity, anxiety, sleep concerns, depression, etc. "Intelligence" is now measurably compromised as the learner has not "gathered" enough age appropriate information in order to problem-solve verbally.
Learner-centered is the ideal, but experiential may be more difficult for this learner than may be expected. Often times, the "experience" in the classroom is audibly stimulating, noisy with movement, and fast paced thus giving little time for quality visual gathering. Notetaking is not a skill set the learner is born with, so to must be learned. Note-taking means auditory reception, processing, and discriminating with immediate interpretative encoding or spelling ability.
The learner-centered approach is a masterful attempt to optimize the implementation of a learner's intellect in the gathering of information skills, sociabilities, and tools of education. The challenge of early education efforts in schools is one that parents and providers must work as a team to succeed. Good parenting for schools success and good schooling for student success is the goal.
Nancy W. Alberts, M. Ed.
Reading Specialist/Academic Therapist