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What matters in student-centered learning? Managing conditions for students to appropriate the object of learning

Sydney Enock Msonde (Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Charles Enock Msonde (The National Examinations Council of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

There have been ideological variations in the understanding of student-centered learning (SCL), culminating in varied practices of SCL across the world. The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of learning study on teachers’ appropriation of the conditions for learning in SCL lessons.

Design/methodology/approach

Three secondary school mathematics teachers in Tanzania formed a learning study group, guided by the theory of variation, to share their experience of how to engage learners in experiencing critical aspects of the object of learning. In-depth interviews, records of teachers’ lesson preparation meetings, and students’ tests were tools used to collect data. All of the qualitative data were analyzed using a phenomenographic variation framework and coding strategies. Moreover, a paired sample t-test was used to analyze the students’ pre- and post-test results.

Findings

The results show that teachers were able to identify critical aspects of two objects of learning for mathematics and create conditions for engaging learners in experiencing those aspects sequentially and simultaneously. There was strong evidence that the theory of variation as a framework helps teachers to learn effective ways of creating conditions for students to appropriate features of the objects of learning for mathematics as well as developing a new SCL pedagogical framework.

Originality/value

This study suggests that using learning study guided by the theory of variation supports teachers’ appropriation of the conditions for student learning within an SCL framework.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflict of interest: the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

The first author acknowledges a travel grant of HK$13,500 from the Research Committee of the University of Hong Kong to support data collection (Grant No. December 2011 – June 2012).

Citation

Msonde, S.E. and Msonde, C.E. (2017), "What matters in student-centered learning? Managing conditions for students to appropriate the object of learning", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 233-248. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLLS-02-2017-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited