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Advice for the new academic year

ESU Chairperson Ligia Deca spoke of student-centred learning, critical thinking and quality assurance at the opening of the academic year at the University of Luxembourg this week. She believes that student-centred learning is the new mode of seeing the role of higher education institutions.

 “I am worried when I hear statements such as ‘we have some good students and some bad students'”, Deca says. On October 21, she was one of the speakers at the opening of the University for the new academic year.

“This categorization is profoundly based on a teacher perspective and it usually involves that some students react to a specific teaching method or curricula and others don’t. The labeling is also an excuse not to explore the specific nature of every learner’s need and instead to blame the student”.

In the traditional higher education system, study programmes, courses or modules, teaching and learning methods as well as student assessment have been predominantly designed, organised and carried out from a teacher perspective and around the question “Which issues will be taught to students?”. Hence it has not always been clear and explicit which are the goals of a learning process from the perspective of a student.

With the new project “Time for a Paradigm Shift: Student Centred Learning”, ESU aims at being one of the pioneers in exploring the multi-faceted meanings of student centered learning and involving the academic communities in this process. The project is a cooperation between ESU and Education International, the representative European and global teachers’ union.

“If we look at how one makes progress in life as a student, you’ll probably notice that a number of other areas are instrumental to achieve the learning outcomes you were aiming at. Firstly, it should be about the learning outcomes, not about the teaching objectives. Secondly, we should look beyond teaching methods and underline the importance of curricula reform, quality of studies, student financial and logistical support, freedom for mobility and the list could surely go on”, says Deca.

Read the full speech here.


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