PRIMARY LEARNING CENTRES
A learning center is a self-contained section of the classroom in which students engage in independent and self-directed learning activities. Get information on learning centers and how to incorporate them in to your instructional routine using this advice.
A learning center is a self-contained section of the classroom in which students engage in independent and self-directed learning activities.
A learning center is a space set aside in the classroom that allows easy access to a variety of learning materials in an interesting and productive manner. Learning centers are usually designed to offer a variety of materials, designs, and media through which students can work by themselves or with others to operationalize the information learned in the classroom. Centers are designed to enhance the learning of concepts, skills, themes, or topics. This learning can take place after a topic is presented to students, during the course of presenting important concepts, or as an initial introduction to material in the text.
Learning centers can have any number of designs, each limited only by your creativity and imagination. Feel free to work with your students in creating a center they will want to use. Such shared responsibility assures that students have a sense of ownership in the center and will be more willing to engage in the resultant activities.
Most teachers will agree that there are three different types of learning centers: enrichment centers, skill centers, and interest and exploratory centers.
Enrichment centers are designed to offer students a variety of learning alternatives as an adjunct to a common unit of instruction. These centers are typically used after the presentation of important materials or concepts and are designed to provide students with opportunities to enrich and enhance their appreciation and understanding of the topics through individual experiences in the center. For example, after you have presented a lesson on the life cycle of plants, you might assign individual students to a center with the following components:
Construction of a terrarium using soil, several plants, rocks, etc.
Observing several plants under the microscope
Designing an individual observation kit for use in the field
Preparation of several foods using different types of common plants
Exploring various news articles on plants in our daily lives
Creative writing on the uses and misuses of plants in modern society
Watching a filmstrip on the ecological implications of acid rain on plant life
Painting a mural on the stages of plant growth
Enrichment centers require you to be aware of your students’ learning styles as well as their knowledge about a topic. The enrichment center can provide individual students with varied activities or combination of activities that differ from those pursued by other students. As such, the center becomes an individualized approach to the promotion of the topic.