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:

10.4324/9780429259371-11

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Abstract

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.

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