Student-centred school culture: for raising active citizens

In Finland, we believe in the uniqueness of each student and their right to grow up to their full potential as individuals and the members of the society.  When they are learning, they learn not only the subjects but they also construct their own identity, the conception of humanity, worldview and their place in the world.  This is a cornerstone of a student-centred school culture; each student needs individual support and motivation in this process.

The student-centred school culture has many dimensions. For example, in the student-centred conception of learning, the students have an active role in their learning process with setting their own goals and solving problems alone or in the cooperation with other students. Teaching methodologies are selected not only according to learning goals but also according to the students’ needs and interest. Positive experiences, joy of learning and creative activities promote learning and motivate the students to develop their skills and knowledge. In a learning community, all parties are learners, including students, teachers and other stakeholders. All members of the school community are treated equally with respect. Equity and equality guarantee all members of the community have the possibility to participate and to get individual support according to their needs. Learning environments are designed to inspire students to learn and to be active. ICT is an important part of learning environments.

An excellent and practical example of how some schools implement the student-centred school culture is a student agent system. The very basic idea is that student agents support teachers and other students in the use of ICT.  The agents may help teachers during classes, teach the use of new applications or even teach the teachers. Some schools have extended the student agent activities even outside the school as the agents teach elderly people the use of ICT.  According to the teachers, the student agent system has only positive results: motivation, cooperation, communication skills and even self-esteem of the student agents has increased. The students’ capacity to solve problems has improved and they continue to learn more. A true win-win situation for all.

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Student centred school culture and many other topics will be discussed during KOULU Group’s EduVenture event in Helsinki, Finland September 2017. Learn more and join us at http://koulugroup.com/eduventure/ Next week’s EduVenture article topic is Skills for life, stay tuned!