The University of Arizona

A PARADIGM SHIFT OF LEARNER-CENTERED TEACHING STYLE: REALITY OR ILLUSION?

Rong Liu, Xiaomei Qiao, Yingliang Liu

Abstract


While learner-centered language teaching has been advocated in higher education in recent years, teacher-centered teaching styles may be still dominant in actual practice. Since previous studies have revealed conflicting results on the relations between variables such as gender, degree obtained, and course type, with the perceived teaching styles, this study also examines the correlation between these variables and the perceived teaching styles.  Using Adapted Principles of Adult Learning Styles (APALS), the present study investigates the teaching style of instructors in a southwestern university. Seven factors in APALS are designed to assess participants' teaching styles: learnercentered activities, personalizing instruction, relating to experience, assessing student needs, climate building, participation in the learning process, and flexibility for personal development. Results show that most instructors still use traditional, teacher-centered styles in university settings despite the call for a paradigm shift to learner-centered ones. Among the seven factors, personalizing instruction and flexibility for personal development are the least practiced by university instructors. Reasons for the discrepancy between theory and practice as well as implications for teacher training are discussed.

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