A Student-Centered Approach to Learning

Carl Vallely, Head of Middle School

Brimmer’s Middle School prides itself on being a student-centered environment. Student-centered learning is a pedagogical approach that prioritizes the needs, interests, and abilities of individual students. It is a departure from traditional teacher-centered approaches that focus on delivering content to a passive audience. In student-centered learning, students are actively engaged in their own learning, taking ownership of their learning goals and activities. This approach is important because it engages students more directly, promotes deeper learning, and helps students develop the critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills they need to succeed in today’s world.
One of the key benefits of student-centered learning is that it encourages students to become active learners. Instead of simply absorbing information from their teachers, students are encouraged to ask questions, explore topics that interest them, and engage in hands-on activities. This approach not only promotes a deeper understanding of the subject matter but also helps students develop the skills they need to succeed in our ever-changing world. From students studying biomimicry, an approach to innovation that seeks solutions by exploring nature’s time tested systems, structures, and materials, and participating in the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge to reading Brown Girl Dreaming, an award-winning story of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood in verse, where  students write an essay that provides a close reading of a theme of the book, to examining the fragility of democracy through the study of the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazi Party through Facing History and Ourselves, to applying their studies in mathematics to real life problems, through their studies, students are encouraged to be creative, think critically, be global citizens and upstanders, and concentrate on themes of social justice and equity.
In addition, student-centered learning allows teachers to focus on the individual needs of each student, tailoring instruction to meet their specific learning styles and abilities. This can help students who may struggle in traditional classroom settings to thrive and achieve their full potential. Ultimately, student-centered learning is a powerful tool for empowering students and promoting their academic success.
As an inclusive private school community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.