We grow teachers.

4 Principles Of Student-Centered Learning

15 7,470


4 Principles Of Student-Centered Learning

by TeachThought Staff

A Definition of Student-Centered Learning

In our view, student-centered learning is a process of learning that puts the needs of the students over the conveniences of planning, policy, and procedure.

Like any phrase, “student-centered learning” is subjective and flexible–and only useful insofar as it ultimately supports the design of learning experiences for students. For example, arguing for a “student-centered approach” to creating curriculum frameworks that center the authentic knowledge needs of each student makes sense, while creating a “student-centered” classroom that gives students little choice in content, voice in product, or a human necessity for creative expression does not. Student-centeredness uses an actual person as an audience, and designs learning experiences backwards from that point.

With that in mind, here are 4 principles of student-centered learning to consider as you design curriculum and instruction.

4 Principles Of Student-Centered Learning


  • Creative
  • Dynamic
  • Mobile
  • Emotionally safe
  • Cognitively agitating


  • That honors their history
  • That stirs their enthusiasm & curiosity
  • That they connect with in fundamentally “non-academic” ways
  • That reflects their needs
  • That they believe they can impact


  • In assessment & curriculum forms (e.g., PBL)
  • That grows as their understanding does
  • That reflects who they really are
  • In classroom conversations
  • In local community & around national
  • & global events


  • In content & priority
  • In media forms and content distribution
  • In audiences for their work
  • In learning strategies, literacy strategies, etc.
  • In pace & sequence

4 Principles Of Student Centered Learning