Student-centred Teaching and Learning: not always what it says on the tin?

Michaela Brockmann


In the context of policy initiatives aimed at widening participation and an increasingly diverse student population, the notion of student academic engagement and how to achieve it have become important topics in academic and practitioner debates. Drawing on Biggs and Tang’s (2007) concept of Levels One, Two and Three teaching, the paper presents the findings of a qualitative study designed to explore different teaching and learning approaches in terms of the level and nature of student engagement. It is suggested that genuine student-centred learning and teaching, based upon constructivist learning theory, is highly effective in engaging students and facilitating deep learning. A distinction is made between student-centred teaching and learning (Level One), on the one hand, and seemingly interactive approaches, generating relatively high levels of student participation without necessarily going beyond surface learning (Level Two), on the other.

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