Learner-Centered Teaching at Keiser University College of Golf

Terry Doyle, author, educational consultant, and professor of reading at Ferris State University, created the “Largest Resource for Learner Centered Teaching on the Web” at http://learnercenteredteaching.wordpress.com, “to provide higher education faculty free teaching resources that can assist them in moving from a teacher centered practice to a learner centered one.” On his website, he has an excerpt from his new book, which states “The question everyone asks, and rightly so, is why should teachers change to a learner centered approach to instruction? The answer is actually very simple. Fifteen years of neuroscience, biology and cognitive psychology research findings on how humans learn offer this powerful and singular conclusion: ‘It is the one who does the work who does the learning’ (Doyle, 2008). This conclusion strongly suggests that the traditional model of teacher centered instruction, where teachers do a lot of the work, is less effective and can be detrimental to students’ learning. Therefore, a new approach is needed that gets the students to do most of the learning work and that approach is learner centered teaching.”

This concept fits almost perfectly into the teaching philosophy and practice at Keiser University College of Golf. Core class faculty are all PGA Professionals who have spent years teaching thousands of golf lessons to students on driving ranges. Imagine, if you would, how ineffective a golf lesson would be if the golf instructor used the teacher centered approach, as listed below:

  1. Knowledge is transmitted from teacher to student.
  2. Student passively receives information.
  3. Emphasis is on acquisition of knowledge outside the context in which it will be used.
  4. Teacher’s role is to be primary information giver and primary evaluator.
  5. Teaching and assessing are separate.
  6. Assessment is used to monitor learning.
  7. Emphasis is on the right answers.
  8. Desired learning is assessed indirectly through the use of objectively scored tests.
  9. Focus is on a single discipline.
  10. Culture is competitive and individualistic.
  11. Only students are viewed as learners.

                                                                  (www.assessment.uconn.edu)

 Thankfully, PGA Golf Professionals have long understood and embraced the value of learner centered teaching on the lesson tee and have transferred that skill into the classroom at Keiser University College of Golf. Characteristics of the learner centered approach follow:

  1. Students construct knowledge through gathering and synthesizing information and integrating it with the general skills of inquiry, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and so on.
  2. Students are actively involved.
  3. Emphasis is on using and communicating knowledge effectively to address enduring and emerging issues and problems in real-life contexts.
  4. Professor’s role is to coach and facilitate. Professor and students evaluate learning together.
  5. Teaching and assessing are intertwined.
  6. Assessment is used to promote and diagnose learning.
  7. Emphasis is on generating better questions and learning from errors.
  8. Desired learning is assessed directly through papers, projects, performances, portfolios, and the like.
  9. Approach is compatible with interdisciplinary investigation.
  10. Culture is cooperative, collaborative, and supportive.
  11. Professor and students learn together.

                                                                  (www.assessment.uconn.edu)

 These concepts and many more useful tools are used by PGA Professionals while delivering information in the classroom, clinic, and lesson tee environments at Keiser University College of Golf.