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Learner-centered instruction might be defined as a teaching methodology that emphasizes the importance of understanding and catering to the students’ needs, interests, and abilities. The rationale behind the methodology is that students will be more engaged and enthusiastic about the curriculum if it is adjusted to their preferences. Similarly, learner-centered instruction is instruction that is designed with the learners’ needs, interests, and learning styles in mind and has the following characteristics (Costa and Kallick, 2000):

  • Instruction is tailored to the needs and characteristics of individual learners.
  • Instruction takes into account how social relationships affect the learners’ adjustment.
  • Learning tasks are aimed at building skills and increasing competence.
  • Oral instructions are clear, focused, and given with students’ full attention.
  • Activities are varied and account for all learning styles and multiple intelligences.
  • Activities promote interaction with peers (using the target language).
  • Instruction relates to the learners’ cultural and social backgrounds.

The Art of Explaning

A good explanation should:

  • contain only such information as will be sufficient to give a reasoned, logically ordered description of the point being explained
  • be exclusively built on knowledge that the student already possesses
  • be tailored to the intended audience, even if this means missing out what an expert on the subject (such as a teacher) might call important detail
  • be carried out persuasively and patiently.

Communicative Comptence

Communicative competence includes the following aspects of language knowledge:

  •  knowing how to use language for a range of different purposes and functions.
  • knowing how to vary our use of language according to the setting and the participants (e.g. knowing when to use formal and informal speech or when to use language appropriately for written as opposed to spoken communication)
  • knowing how to produce and understand different types of texts (e.g. narratives, reports, interviews, conversations)
  • knowing how to maintain communication despite having limitations in one’s language knowledge (e.g. through using different kinds of communication strategies).

Active reading techniques

Active reading techniques relate to ways in which you engage with the text. These are important because they help to improve your concentration, and therefore also assist with memory and retention. This ultimately enhances learning. Some examples of active reading behaviours include:
• underlining/highlighting key ideas;
• varying your pace as you read;
• reading parts aloud;
• summarising as you read (using your own words when making notes);
• forming questions;
• annotating the text; and
• stopping at strategic points to review and consolidate what you’ve read (before reading further)

The Four Stages of Rigorous Instruction

Teachers cannot expect students to just jump in and be able to start thinking in a highly rigorous way. But we can build students’ capacity to engage in rigorous learning through the instructional choices teachers make.

1. Acquisition, where you focus on helping students understand new content and acquire new skills.
2. Application, where you focus on helping students apply thinking skills so that
they can use what they are learning in a meaningful way.
3. Assimilation, where you focus on helping students use thinking processes to synthesize what they are learning into new understanding.
4. Adaptation, where you help students develop habits of mind and apply what
they have learned to new contexts across disciplines.

The seven principles of mastery teaching are


  1. Start where your students are.
  2. Know where your students are going.
  3. Expect to get your students to their goal.
  4. Support your students along the way.
  5. Use feedback to help you and your students get better.
  6. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
  7. Never work harder than your students


It’s not a matter of a win

Winning isn’t everything, but willing to win is.