By J. Antonio Castellanos Hdez.
The mind is not a vessel to be filled , but a fire to be kindled
The keystone of the learner-center method is the learner´s proficiency. This essay has been thought and written towards the success of the learner by thinking on his personal needs,interests, capacities, personal development, increase of knowledge, self evaluation, and mastery of proficiency; these, in order to design effective planning courses . It´s a great effort and compromise to all of us as ESL teachers, to be more engaged into the learner-centered approaches and theories to help and motivate our students to become more effective learners. This situation hasbecome an enormous task; that requires all of our time and attention aimed to their success in learning. By assisting our students in developing their own critical thinking and facilitate them with strong and clear assessments. Pro active and self evaluation of learning is expected to all teachers and students .The first subtopic traces the learner-centered approach back to the world´smost famous and antique civilizations: the Sumerians, the Chinese and the Greeks. They generated the philosophical base for the learner-centered method now a this days. Next subtopic is how the learner centered psychological and pedagogical bases appeared in European and English spoken countries during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Perceptual psychology ,constructivism, communicative approach, as well as the role of perception, are the major contributions in learner-center education which have opened a new focus on the importance of the learner-centered methodology
Next subtopic explains what is learner-centered education, how it was developed in the English spoken countries and list it´s main principles. After that comes another topic that showus the importance of an effective planning based on the needs of the students. And finally the learner´s proficiency based on the idea that the learner become an independent learner and able to manage the language in a proficiency level.
Philosophical and Psychological Basis.
The first evidence of a learned-center education approach have been associated on the development of writtenlanguage with the Sumerians (around 3500 B.C.) . The Chinese ancient education system focused on the developing of the individual character within a strong national identity. It proposed a philosophical starting point on the advance of learner-centered techniques.
. “Confucius; a famous chinese philosopher, believed that every person should strive for the continual development of selfuntil excellence is achieved” (Ozmon & Craver,1999,p.105).
Greece is another example of civilization that brought up to the world great philosophers as Socrates; that stressed the human being with his maxims like: know thy self. Many modern philosophers like Francis Bacon who also contributed to the use of problem solving with his method of inductive thinking; increased the use oflearner-centered approach back in his times. As well as the English philosopher John Locke ( 1632-1704) proposed that: at birth the mind is a blank slate, and the only way to fill it is through having experiences. We can observe the influence of the learner-centered method and the importance on the future development in the works of these philosophers.
By the middle of nineteenthcentury American educators became more serious in relation to learner centered education. In Dayton Ohio an ex soldier and teacher named Colonel Francis Parker started to give demonstration lessons to help teachers learn how to use learner center methods. One of the main points to enhace
students interest was to treat them like human beings, not as a machines. He developed a theory of...