Teaching is the process in which a teacher provides education for students and takes the significant part in it. A teacher is responsible for students’ both success and failure in study and takes accountabilities for students’ education and upbringing. A teacher plays a substantial role in formation of student’s individuality. Throughout all time it has been noble and diligent work. Furthermore, teaching is a very versatile activity because an educator should work with sufficient amount of learners with various abilities and levels of perception in order to form knowledge about a certain theme and develop skills of learners, broaden horizons and etc.
Definitely, every teacher wants to give excellent knowledge or decent education to his/her students. And every teacher has his/her own teaching methods. We know that thousands of books, manuals, scientific researches, articles are devoted to teaching approaches, technologies, skills and methods and we, teachers, are familiar with most of them. They are prominent methods of teaching and learning i.e. traditional methods, interactive methods, innovative methods, innovative technologies of teaching and student-centered method etc.
As Albert Einstein said, “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” It is interesting to enquire “Do we teach our students or give opportunity to learn and support them? How much do students learn from us and by themselves?”
As most of us teach, we are responsible for our learners’ knowledge and assessment; we ultimately take the education process under control. We often get upset when we reveal that the work we are doing so intensively with our students does not satisfy us. We don’t commonly see the best results that we expect from all students or when the amount of excellent students is small. Thus in order to multiply the amount of excellent students, teachers work hard and master the taught subject, but weak students remain less active or due to differentiated approach with students applied by teachers such students will have subtle success in study. So what should we do in terms of expansion and enhancement of students study en masse? And is it really possible?
We consider that one of the best methods is student-centered teaching which shifts the focus of activity from the teacher to the learners. These methods include active learning, in which students solve problems, answer questions, formulate questions of their own, discuss, explain, debate, or brainstorm during class; cooperative learning, in which students work in teams on problems and projects under conditions that assure both positive interdependence and individual accountability; and inductive teaching and learning, in which students are first presented with challenges (questions or problems) and learn the course material in the context of addressing the challenges. Inductive methods include inquiry-based learning, case-based instruction, problem-based learning, project-based learning, discovery learning, and just-in-time teaching.
According to educators there are terms “teacher-centered” and “student-centered” to describe two distinct approaches to instruction. Teacher-centered approach typically refers to learning situations in which the teacher asserts control over the material that students study and the ways in which they study it—i.e., when, where, how, and at what pace they learn it.
In addition, in teacher-centered classrooms, teachers may also decide to teach students in ways that are easy, familiar, or personally preferred, but that might not work well for some students or use instructional techniques shown to be most effective for improving learning.
Traditional methods haven’t been eliminated yet and are still used in schools and universities. It connotes that a teacher is the central figure during the study process. This process helps teachers to master all methods and skills, but it doesn’t make student’s activity productive. Interactive methods such as cluster, brainstorming, debates, case study and etc. are also widely used nowadays. Positive side of interactive methods is the cooperation between teacher and learners as well as feedback. Student-centered learning is less used method than above mentioned ones. The reason is that traditional way of teaching has been tightly fixed in classes at schools and universities. Interactive methods are good enough and can lead students to some progress in learning. But the most fascinating activity in a classroom is when students conduct, debate, comment, argue and at last assess their knowledge. Student-centered methods help learners be independent, confident, responsible and decisive. Teacher is a facilitator who directs or guides learners during the lesson. The main focus is made on students rather than on a teacher at class. It implies a teacher speaks less and observes much and students speak and work much. In English classes this method can be effectively used from Elementary to Advanced levels of English learners. Teachers may challenge learners by giving free topic on their own preference or precise topic to discuss, even grammar: presentation of grammar themes by students also leads to successful performance and discourse. We conducted a research in a group of 10 students of Pre-Intermediate level. We gave them firstly, a list of grammar themes secondly we enquired them to choose any topic with the aim to facilitate a discussion. So they distributed grammar themes between themselves and all of them each lesson used to make a presentation, explanation of grammar and afterwards facilitating discussion on a free topic. Each student had to explain, present a grammar theme and be a teacher for one day. It’s noteworthy to say that the whole lesson went in English. All students learnt grammar themselves and taught other students by using visual aids, making tables and diagrams, preparing exercises and tests. For example students made presentations on such grammar themes as follows: Tenses, Adjectives, Countable and uncountable nouns, Question sentences, Modal verbs, Conditionals, Reported speech, Passive voice, Prepositions and Articles. They used assignments on grammar, answered the questions of other students, checked the assignments and evaluated students. And after grammar tasks they conducted discussion on topics they had prepared, first they gave information about the topic and then involved other students to the discussion. There were such topics as: Elephants, Fashion style hipsters, Tea, Youth problems, Environmental problems, Religion and culture, Daily routine, Pros and cons of the Internet, Students’ life and education and so on. Students pinpointed that such topics helped them to be smart and competent because of the lack of time or simply laziness to read encyclopedia or other resources. From the topic Elephants they have learnt types of elephants, the average age, how they feed, traits and etc. Besides they shared the information they knew about elephants. At the end they analyzed each lesson, evaluated the job of a presenter by giving a mark and commenting negative and positive sides of the lesson. On completion of the first circle of this activity students elicited the improvement of their speaking skills, comprehension of grammar, desire to learn more and explore, be the best speaker and facilitator.