What is learner-centred education?

At Kingston Literacy, as in most adult literacy programs in Ontario, students, volunteers and staff collaborate in the learning process as equal partners.

When they first enter the program, students are asked about their long-term goals – “What would you like to be doing six months, or a year from now”, and about their short-term goals – “What would you like to learn here?” The assessor then designs a learning plan, agreed on by the student, in which the short-term goals feed into the long term goal. But the process is not always so straightforward. A student may be very unsure or vague about what the long-term goal is. It may take time for preferences to emerge, or the goals may change. That’s fine. But it means that goal-setting could be one of the activities that you’re doing with your student.

This learning path differs from a traditional educational setting in which the curriculum is pre-determined and the student signs up for a course based on its content. It also means that students don’t have to achieve certain required grades or levels to “pass”. Most students decide what they want to achieve in a given time, then they aim for that.

Students’ interests and needs determine the content of the personalized learning sessions. So even if two students have the same short-term and long-term goals, they may be working on different material in their tutoring sessions.

Session 1 Index