Cautiously Independent

How student-centered learning encourages emerging adults to take risks

Authored by: Tisha Admire Duncan , Allison A. Buskirk-Cohen

The Routledge International Handbook of Student-Centered Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367200527
eBook ISBN: 9780429259371
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Today’s college students are primarily emerging adults, a category defined for those between the ages of 18–29 who are journeying from adolescence through young adulthood. The elements of this age include identity exploration, instability, self-focus, possibilities and feelings of being in between ages, all of which can prompt feelings of uncertainty, doubt and anxiety. For emerging adults, they may lack confidence in decision-making, planning and independent thinking. The educational framework of constructivism has a deep-rooted history in the field of education. The ideas of learner-centered instruction, developmentally appropriate practices, and teaching the whole child formulated from the work of Dewey, Piaget and other early researchers. A constructivist approach to education requires that students experience disequilibrium in order to challenge existing knowledge. In this chapter, we argue that moving from disequilibrium to a place of new knowledge requires the support and assistance of a trusted other – the instructor, classmates and so forth. This chapter will explore how the convergence of constructivism as a framework for student-centered learning (SCL) and emerging adults influences their social and emotional understanding, growth and development. Through a review of the literature on attachment, we will explore how building strong relationships in the classroom is key for emerging adults and facilitates the process of constructivism and SCL.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.