Module 1

Developing 21st Century Skills


Conventional, Teacher-Centred Teaching

Conventional, teacher-centred teaching and lecture is the most common teaching behaviour found in schools worldwide. Teacher-centred teaching can be very effective, particularly for:
• Sharing information that is not easily found elsewhere
• Presenting information in a quick manner
• Generating interest in the information
• Teaching learners who learn best by listening

However, teacher-centred teaching also presents several challenges, including:
• Not all learners learn best by listening
• Keeping learners’ interest is often difficult
• The approach tends to require little or no critical thinking
• The approach assumes that all learners learn in the same impersonal way

21st Century, Learner-Centred Learning

How is 21st century, learner-centred learning different from conventional, teacher-centred learning? The two methods have different approaches to content, teaching and learning, classroom environment, assessment, and ICT, as summarized in the following table. Each approach is appropriate in different situations.

This table is not intended to show a comparison of two opposing approaches where one is more appropriate than the other. On the contrary, this table shows that both approaches can be appropriate depending on a particular situation.

Teacher-Centred Approaches Learner-Centred Approaches
The content is established by a curriculum, and all learners study the same topics at the same time.
Learners study topics based on curriculum and standards but are allowed numerous choices in a topic of study.
Learners have access to limited information, selected by the teacher or the school library.
Learners have infinite access to unlimited information of varying degrees of quality.
Topics of study are typically isolated and disconnected from each other.
Learners study content in a way that shows connections between subjects.
Learners memorize facts and occasionally analyze information critically. There is little focus on applying facts or Concepts to a variety of real world situations.
Learners learn concepts as well as facts, and frequently engage in high-level analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of a variety of kinds of material. There is an emphasis on showing how concepts apply to a variety of real world situations.
Learners work to find correct answers.
Learners work to construct any one of a number of possible correct answers.
Teachers choose activities and provide materials at the appropriate level.
Learners select from a variety of teacher-provided activities and often determine their own level of challenge at which to work.
The teacher is the information giver—the sage on the Stage—helping learners acquire skills and knowledge.
The teacher is the facilitator—the guide on the side—providing opportunities for learners to apply skills and construct their own knowledge.
Learning starts with what learners do not know.
Learning starts with learners’ previous knowledge.
Teaching is an instructive process.
Teaching is a constructive process.
Learners complete short, isolated activities and lessons around specific content pieces and skills.
Learners work on activities and projects connected to long-term goals aimed at building deep conceptual understanding and proficient strategy use.
Classroom Environment
Learners learn passively in an often silent classroom.
Classroom environment resembles an active workplace with various activities and levels of sound depending on the kind of work being done.
Learners usually work individually. Learners often collaborate with peers, experts, community members, and teachers.
Learners take paper-and-pencil exams, silently and alone. The questions are kept secret until test time, so learners have to learn all the material even though only part of it will be tested. Learners know ahead of time how they will be assessed, have input into the criteria by which they will be assessed, receive feedback from the teacher and their peers throughout
a unit, and have multiple opportunities to assess their own learning.
Teachers are primarily accountable for learner learning.
Teachers and learners share accountability for learning and achievement.
Learners are extrinsically motivated by the desire to get good grades, to please teachers, and to gain rewards.
Learners’ interests and involvement promotes intrinsic motivation and effort.
Teachers use various kinds of technology to explain, demonstrate, and illustrate various topics.
Learners use various kinds of technology to conduct research, communicate, and create knowledge.

Good teachers recognize that there is more than one way to teach, and that different situations often require different teaching practices. Accordingly, the Intel® Teach Getting Started Course incorporates elements of traditional, teacher-centered instruction, along with elements of 21st century, learner-centered instruction. Although differences exist between the two approaches, research indicates that 21st century, learner-centered approaches can enhance traditional, teacher-centered instruction by providing a purposeful and meaningful context for which learners can master their emerging skills.


Intel® Teach Programme
Participant Version 2.0 (SA) | Getting Started