Why do teachers make life hard for ourselves?

Reflecting upon the lessons I conducted this week with my Yr 9 class, I realised I had staged a mini-experiment (by accident of course!). One lesson was almost completely teacher centred (me feeding them the information) and the other 2 were students contributing and generating much of the information themselves.

Let me tell you, the results of my experiment reveal not only that students were more engaged during the student centred activities, but also that it was much less stressful for me!

Whilst the student centred lessons took twice as long to prepare as the teacher centred ones, during the lesson itself I was much more relaxed, flexible and able to assist the kids who were struggling with the ideas and concepts of shakespeare.

It really begs the question, why do teachers make life difficult for themselves by conducting teacher centred lessons? They have to work harder to get kids on task and enjoying the activities, it gives you much less flexibility to explore issues which arise (because you may not be the expert on those!) and it makes for a state of anxiety during the lesson. Not to mention all the benefits and skills to be gained by students who generate and own their own knowledge.

We are told time and time again to make it student centred because it is better for students learning. While this may be incentive enough for those of us interested in students wellbeing, perhaps we need to rephrase our arguments.

Convincing teachers that student centred lessons equal less anxiety for them might be a way in which we can hook those teachers who have ignored other arguments in favour of student centred learning until now.