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Use Learning Centers Like a Pro

Learning center describes a self-contained section of the classroom in which students engage in independent and self-directed learning activities. It allows students to enrich their learning by using a variety of materials in an interesting and productive manner.   Students work on academic skills by doing different activities to create, explore, and discover new ideas.

Learning centers can help maximize the teacher’s role and abilities while requiring limited effort after the initial set-up. This approach takes the pressure off the educator to continuously instruct students in whole groups and places education into the hands of an individual student or a small group. This teaching tool can help you look and feel like a pro in many ways.

There are three different approaches a teacher can use in learning centers to maximize student education.

Enrichment center

The goal of an enrichment center is to help students dive into applying a concept. The ideal enrichment center allows students to get hands-on experience in tandem with their instruction.  Enrichment centers help students gain a deeper appreciation for a topic. They can be geared towards any topic, be it art, history, math, language, or science, and are limited only by the teacher’s imagination.

For example, if students are learning about plant or animal classification, put a few plants on the table with different charts of plant classification. Instruct students to use the charts to identify and classify the plants by applying the techniques scientists use to identify plants. 

Skill Center

When a student learns something new, a hands-on application is imperative if that student is to commit the topic, concept, or method to long-term memory, which is why practicing skills is so important. 

You can use a skills-oriented approach to practice a wide variety of categories. Some examples for primary school include spelling activities, math practice, or reading groups. These activities can help students gain skills that they can utilize throughout life.

Interest/exploration centers

One of the greatest teaching challenges is helping students become curious about a topic or the world around them. Interest and exploration learning centers utilize curiosity as a teaching tool.

After a student has learned all the required material in the class, the teacher can generate some resources to help students dive deeper into some facets of the topics. 

The benefits of learning centers

Engaging students in course material is one goal of teaching. Learning centers make information and exploration memorable for students as it creates unique and personal experiences.  Students will remember the content and the environment in which it is learned as they progress through formal schooling and life.

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