Which is Best: Teacher-Centered or Student-Centered Education?

When you are considering how to approach teaching, it is important to consider the best way to teach your students. Your students should enjoy learning and your classroom should be controlled and orderly.

You’ve likely come across a debate in your research that educators have been thinking about when it comes to instruction: teacher-centered or student centered?

We simplified the differences between them and helped you decide which one was best for you.

Teacher-centered education

Students are taught teacher-centered education by putting all their attention on the teacher. The teacher speaks, and students listen only. Students work independently during activities and collaboration is discouraged.


  • The classroom is more orderly when education is teacher-centered. The classroom is quiet and students are respectful.
  • Students learn independently and can make their own decisions.
  • You don’t need to be concerned that students might miss important topics because you are the instructor.


  • Students who work alone may not learn how to collaborate with others students and could have a hard time communicating.
  • Students can find teacher-centered instruction boring. Students may lose sight of important facts and their minds might wander.
  • Teachers-centered instruction does not allow students to speak up, ask questions, or direct their learning.

Instruction Designed for students

A classroom that is student-centered will have students and teachers sharing the focus. Students and teachers are encouraged to interact with one another, rather than listening only to the teacher. Students learn to work in groups and to communicate with each other.


  • Through group work, students learn valuable communication and collaboration skills.
  • Students learn how to manage their learning, ask questions and complete tasks on their own.
  • Students will be more interested in learning activities if they can interact with each other and take part actively.


  • Classrooms can be chaotic or noisy because students are speaking.
  • Teachers might have to manage the activities of all students at once. This can prove difficult when students are working on different phases of the same project.
  • Some students might miss important facts because the teacher may not always be able to give instruction to everyone at once.
  • Some students prefer to work alone. Group work can be problematic for them.

Making a decision

Teachers have been moving towards a more student-centered approach in recent years. Some students believe that teacher-centered education is more effective. Teachers can use several approaches to meet the needs of students in most cases. You understand your classroom better than anyone. Decide what is best for you and your students.