Teacher-centered and student-centered approaches in language teaching

           Nowadays science has been develop, as well as education is now increasingly advanced. This is affect on the teaching and learning system. Needs and challenges in the learning process would be different over time. Therefore, there must be corresponding changes to the current situation and conditions. Such changes could be a way of thinking, the approach in the learning process, as well as new skills are needed to offset the progress of time. Many teachers have attempted to improve the quality of learning, one of them by doing approaches in learning. According to Sagala (2008:68) learning approach is the way to be followed by teachers and students in achieving instructional objectives for a particular instructional unit. There are two kinds of approaches that I will discuss here, namely teacher-centered and student-centered approaches especially in language teaching.

           A teacher-centered approach is one where activity in the class is centered on the teacher. Shuell (1996) said that teacher-centered approach include instruction where the teacher’s role is to present the information that is to be learned and to direct the learning process of students. Bannon (2002) adds that the teacher identifies the lesson objectives and takes the primary responsibility for guiding the instruction by explanation of the information and modeling. In this approach, teachers should convey the materials well, because if not, students will be difficulties and lack of knowledge. It is because the teacher as the center of classroom teaching.

            The teacher-centered approach is a method that has long been used in teaching and learning. Currently, there are still some teachers who use this approach. However, this approach has the disadvantage, that is students will be passive in class. This is because students do not have the opportunity to play a role in finding the information itself. They only get information based on what they hear from teachers. They only act as a receiver material, and the teacher as transmitter of the material. The teacher came to class, give or deliver materials while students sit and listen. Such an approach is less effective for teaching and learning process. Besides, teachers are required to have extensive knowledge and should be able to convey the material well. There are several advantages in this approach the learning process will be more focused because the teachers follow the teaching procedure. In addition, this approach also does not require much time to find teaching materials or the materials, because the teacher had prepared first before starting the learning process.

            The second approach is student-centered approach. Blumberg (2008) said that learner-centered teaching is an approach to teaching that is increasingly being encouraged in higher education. Learner-centered teachers do not employ a single teaching method. This approach emphasizes a variety of different types of methods that shifts the role of the instructors from givers of information to facilitating student learning. It is in the line with Hara (1995) in the child-centered approach, the teaching objectives are not the transmitting of knowledge and facts, but the development of children’s own capacity and intelligence. Thus, this approach emphasizes nurturing children’s original thinking, connecting the learning to children’s individual needs, and giving children diverse experiences.

            This approach can be said the solutions in teaching and learning process and begin to be applied since several years ago. In this approach, students are expected to be able to play an active role in class. Students involved in the development of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. It is in the line with Mudjiono and Dimyati (2006:115) that  in student-centered approach involves students intellectually, emotionally and optimization in the learning process, other than that directed students how to acquire and process the results of learning about the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values​​. In addition, students can develop the knowledge widely. It will facilitate them in learning. Students can build and find their own knowledge so that they can understand what they can in depth. In this case, teachers act as facilitators in the classroom. Teachers who facilitate the process of learning in the classroom. Teachers simply directing their students, while students who take an active role in learning. students dig up information and then apply in their lives. This approach also brings positive impact on students, the student can build his confidence, improve its ability to think critically, dared to express opinions, and others. There are disadvantage this approach is that not all students participated in the methods applied in this approach. For example in the method of presentation in groups. In addition, this approach usually requires more time than they should because students are active in asking, expressing an opinion or advice, expressed ideas and arguing about the topic being discussed so it takes a long time. However, it can be overcome if the teacher can supervise and give instructions well and clearly.

            Based on those two approaches, the difference can be seen clearly.  Both have different characteristics. The terms of both purpose and process of implementation. The teacher-centered approach is more to the theories presented by the teacher. In this approach are rely more on the ability of teachers in delivering the material. Students as a passive learners. It is different from the student-centered approach. In this approach students are more directed to practice that they do themselves. In teacher-centered approach, rely more on knowledge and skills of teachers, because teachers as its center. Otherwise, the student-centered approach does not just rely on the material provided by teachers, but students are also actively seeking knowledge from other sources and then apply it in class, either by way of presentations in groups or individually. So that, the students will be more active in classroom. They use their background knowledge in language learning.

            In addition to these differences, they also have in common is the teacher’s role therein requires. Even though self-learning methods can be said, still need supervision and guidance of a teacher. However, the difference is how big a role the teacher is needed. Both are need each other between teachers and students. Teachers can not be separated from its role as a second parent in school. Therefore, the role of the teacher is still required even if the teacher uses student-centered approach.

            I can conclude that in the teaching learning process it takes the right approach to achieve the goal of learning as well. teachers must be careful in choosing and should consider the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches. both teacher-centered approach or student-centered approach has advantages and disadvantages. however, from both approaches has the most advantages are student-centered approach. This approach involves students actively rather than just waiting for the material provided by the teacher. in this approach, students will experience, seek and find knowledge, skills and attitudes what should be taken. application of this approach is needed in the learning process at this time. so the student should be able to recognize and develop the learning capacity and potential. in addition, students will also be better trained to think critically, responsive, and skilled in finding, acquiring and developing the necessary information.


Mudjiono and Dimyati. 2006. Belajar dan Pembelajaran. Jakarta: PT Rineka Cipta

Sagala, Syaiful. 2008. Konsep dan Makna Pembelajaran. Bandung: Alfabeta












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