On February 22, 2019, faculty, staff and administrators gathered at Los Angeles Southwest College for the “Creating Student-Centered Classrooms” Regional Summit, a day of discussion and learning centered on the inquiry question: What is a “student centered” learning environment and how do we build student-centered classrooms with support?
Facilitators invited faculty to engage with powerful texts on classroom practices that help to engage and retain students.
Two of the this year’s participants from The Faculty Teaching and Learning Academy (FTLA), Lisa Lewenberg and Celena Alcala-Burkhardt, presented on how they have used the Six Success Factors to improve their approach with students. They shared that reflecting and implementing these factors has helped each of them to become more student ready in their roles in Career and Technical Education and Administration, respectively. They both realized how crucial it is to have the 6 student success factors in mind as they think about their development and implementation of the Guided Pathways work on their respective campuses.
The Keynote presentation by Dr. Vanson Nguyen, Math faculty from College of Alameda, was very insightful and guided faculty through how to build a student-centered learning environment with strategies such as whole class quizzes and demystifying the hidden curriculum by answering these questions: What does your class teach students about themselves? What do you want students to get from your class that is outside of the content?
Clare Norris-Bell, English Faculty from West Los Angeles College, and Stephanie Arms-Gradington and Joni Johnson, English Faculty from Los Angeles Southwest College, presented very compelling information and insight into ways AB 705 implementation can help promote learner-centered instruction. They also shared their experience with spreading learner-centered instruction beyond just one classroom. Some of the key insights that they provided were around enrollment management and how colleges should consider scheduling support “sidecar” courses for English Composition paired with two composition courses taught by the same instructor or as late start classes to help ensure the classes fill and the support is available for students. There was also discussion of the peer mentor-style support being offered to freshman composition instructors this semester to ensure that they have access to professional learning opportunities and can connect their students with resources across the campus.
Event feedback was very positive. The experience led participants to think more broadly about
opportunities for changing their pedagogical approach within the classroom as well as within the
larger context of the college institution as a whole, either at a committee, division or department level, to inspire institutional and curricular redesign in order to increase student access, success, equity and completion.