There is an old saying that everybody is replaceable. Honestly, I have always cringed at the thought of this. If everybody is replaceable then isn’t it true that nobody is special? I want to believe that every individual is sacred. Earlier this week, I think that I solved this conundrum for myself.
Every warm blooded, breathing individual is replaceable.
However, people are much more than beings who breathe. Instead, we are the sum total of our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. We make ourselves special by what we do and say. If we distinguish ourselves by our words and actions, we make ourselves irreplaceable.
The soul of the classroom is replaceable when the teacher stands in front of the room lecturing.
When we stop and think about it, student centered classrooms provide the context in which students can learn to both act and speak properly within public contexts. In traditional classrooms, in which teachers lectured at students, individual students were not expected to actively interact with their classmates. The action that occurred in one classroom was literally replaceable with the action that occurred in another classroom. All you needed was the teacher to stand up in front lecturing.
Student centered classrooms are not about the teacher. Every classroom is different because students are encouraged to be themselves and bring their own personal ingenuity to the learning at hand. Student centered classrooms recognize the importance of each individual student. Individual personalities are celebrated within these classrooms.
In student centered classrooms, students have the opportunity to learn that they matter. They matter because the can act and speak in ways that make significant differences. Even in situations where students remain passive, they learn that they have the potential to be vitally important because they can act and speak.
Do you agree that student centered classrooms help students recognize their own importance? Why or why not?