Reactions to Chall – Teacher versus Student-centered teaching

Research has been done on the influence of teaching styles on the performance of students. Jeanne Chall (2000) discussed at length two specific approaches to teaching. In her writings she gathered research which presented evidence in support of teacher-centered instruction instead of student-centered instruction. The teacher-centered instruction was particularly vital for students who were low-income or low achievement. High achieving students, on the other hand, appeared to do well with student-centered instruction. The evidence presented in Chall (2000) was and is important to our understanding of classroom instruction methods which may provide the best style of teaching for all students, but what if this is not enough? What are the questions that we are not asking?

What are the other factors which may influence the positive response of some students towards one method of instruction over the other method of instruction? Is there a possibility that low achievement students respond well to teacher-centered instruction not because it is inherently better than student-centered instruction, but instead it is representative of a style or culture of parenting which these students are more likely to have received prior to attending compulsory schooling? And by deduction, what if higher achieving students respond to student-centered instruction better not because student-centered is inherently better, but because higher achieving students are more likely to exist in a culture of parenting which is more child centered? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but they are important to share.

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