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Barriers of Student Centered Strategy in Cambodia

Attard, Iorio, Geven, & Santa (2010) mentioned that in teaching and learning process, there are always two coaching approaches combined so the targets are obtained satisfactorily. Both of these are student-centered approach (SCA) and teacher-centered strategy.

But, it is an active-learning style or SCA which helps students to develop their knowledge. Through their peer-collaborative work, real observation, and group dialogue, students enable to attain deeper understanding this content of the lesson. In a result, the results of learning will be significantly high-reliable. This could reduce dropout rate being that they are happy, understand, and also feel assured they are strong enough for advanced schooling (Nith, Wright, Hor, Bredenburg, & Singh, 2010; Bonwell, Charles, Eison, & Jame, 2000).

After the entire world Seminar on Education for many, Jomtien, Thailand in 1990, Cambodia attempted its own work to boost basic education. It increases not only the enrollment, but also the quality of teaching through specialized the help of some organization such as Save Norway, UNICEF, USAID, and the Kampuchean Action for Key Education (KAPE). Regarding to the grade of coaching, the ministry of education, junior, and sports (MoEYS) applied SCA in instruction and curricula (Ginsburg, 2009).

Even most professors are already familiar with SCA, the outcome of students' achievement is not satisfied yet. As Noun, ex - director of Kandal regional teacher training school (RTTC Kandal), mentioned that there were not enough teaching materials for teacher trainers to utilize for describing difficult concepts of lesson and this more materials would have to be developed. There are still some constraints which are challenged in applying SCA such as not-full-understanding the ideas of SCA, low-salary teachers, and having private job of the professors. (Nith, Wright, Hor, Bredenburg, & Singh, 2010).

This research targets the number of questions;

How is SCA important in increasing the real quality of education?

Why is SCA not totally successful-stimulated to enhance the achievements of education quality in Cambodia? What exactly are the barriers?

What are some possible solutions to those obstacles?


Student-centered strategy and quality of learning

Attard, Iorio, Geven, & Santa (2010) defined the meaning of SCA as written:

"Student-Centered Learning presents both a way of thinking and a culture within confirmed higher education establishment and it is a learning methodology which is broadly related to, and recognized by, constructivist theories of learning. It is characterized by innovative methods of coaching which aim to promote learning in communication with instructors and other learners and which take students seriously as active participants in their own learning, fostering transferable skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and reflective thinking. " (p. 5).

SCA requires students to are in constructivism theory. It can help students to build up their own knowledge through group work, peer teaching, observation, and self-alliance. This means that knowledge is obtained positively rather than passively, which immediately transfers from instructors or books to students (Weimer, 2002).

Attard, Iorio, Geven, & Santa (2010) stated that providing SCA will probably be worth to try

because it gives more advantages to the learning results in classroom. First, students may become a part of community through facilitating, deeper-thinking, and analyzing skills. Second, students have strong inspiration to study. Being that they are more interested in this learning approach as well as have significantly more chance relating in course activities rather than just listen to professor, they surely deepen their understanding. Third, it gives the self-reliance for college student which helps these to be more competent and creative by group work, conversing, and critical analyzing. Totally, SCA can produce skills for daily life.

Student-centered methodology in Cambodia

SCA was first released in Cambodia via Child Friendly College program create by the cooperation between MoEYS and international companions. It carried out through pre-service and in-service program, and started from primary school to lower-secondary university. To gain professors' knowledge on this new coaching method and effectively apply it, the program tried to create on-job training, workshop, and assist to develop needed materials. Moreover, some elements of primary institution and lower-secondary university curriculum are modified to be able to easily fit in SCA. Research demonstrates there's a good to remain the outcomes of SCA software. Teachers now use some educational video games and group work activities in class. Students, then, get started to be positive to express their idea through the group debate and bring it up to the rest of the category. However, the question is that if the teachers are sure to improve students' critical thinking or problem solving skill or not (Ginsburg, 2009).

The regularity and performance of SCA in school room are significantly different from schools to classes in Cambodia depending on if the schools have tech support team from local or international lovers or not. With the assistance from its partners, professors make an effort to promote energetic learning by causing lesson plan, creating some teaching materials, inventing new learning techniques, regularly meeting, producing game titles, and etc. Needless to say, the analysis has mentioned that educators likely need more training, workshop, and follow-up activities to improve their capacity building on both content knowledge and coaching methodologies. They suggest that there must be the strong engagement and support from management team of school as well. Motivation and award is highly recommended or directed at the well-performed instructors (Ginsburg, 2009)

Barriers of student-centered approach

Even SCA seems to be very useful and beneficial for learning achievement, there are still some challenges using it in the school. According for some research, the normal barriers include inadequate coaching materials, or equipment, or sources, overloaded-student in small school, much planning time, insufficient and misunderstanding in applying it such as too easy or too difficult talking about questions, which have a tendency to wash away the interest, confident, and understanding of the students. Additionally, the content of lessons in curriculum is also regarded as the container of throat of making use of SCA (Bonwell, Charles, Eison, & Jame, 2000). Furthermore, the key challenge should be the financial support to make SCA stand strong. Many administrators think that this lively learning method needs additional money to make it useful and effective in teaching. It doesn't work very well with large class size. So, when a variety of students increase, the institution needs money to generate more classrooms to fill students in appropriate amounts ideal for SCA. Another problem is that the incentive for teacher. Pursuing SCA, teachers have to spend much time in preparing lessons before the school such as lessons plan, materials, hand-outs, and so on. Sometimes, they have to be accessible to advice or discuss some functional things with students who come to ask questions related to their assignment, or project, or test. So, if they get less salary or no motivation, how could they think about the quality of coaching? Beside the above obstacles, the uncomforting with this new method from students is also the task in impeding the SCA. They prospectively think that SCA activities make sure they are learn significantly less than teacher-centered approach. They feel risky to learn. The last barrier is the disagreement and different perfectives between the ones who maintain the traditional strategy (rote-teaching) and the supporters of new effective learning. They protect their favour in term of knowledge, learning process, and role of education (Garvin, 2000).

In Cambodia education, these barriers also happen. Cambodia is the developing country which experienced group of civil warfare since after Angkorean regime. Following the 1993 national election, education likely improves in the support of NGOs and other stakeholders. SCA is then included in lessons to increase the quality of education. However, there are a few barriers which reduce the effectiveness of SCA such as teaching materials, unsuitable curriculum, large course, low salary which lets those to concern less on teaching and also have private business, unqualified teachers, and insufficient knowledge on active learning (Maeda, Pen, Place, Kita, Sieng, & Naganuma, 2006).

Possible solutions

UNESCO (2010) explained that

"In September 2008, Cambodian Primary Minister lay out the dedication of the Government to enhance the quality of education through providing bonuses to teachers, improving curriculum, encouraging outstanding students, training instructors, upgrading teaching methodologies, improving class room conditions and learning materials, and building more libraries and laboratories". (p. 34)

As mentioned previously, I believe that it should be the possible image resolution to overcome the barriers in making use of SCA.


SCA is not only good for students, but also to teachers. It offers students with skill because of their lives when applying correctly. They have strong motivation to review since it is more fun and at the same time they understand more this content of the lesson. SCA also can fill the average person need. In addition, it educates students to figure out how to be independent and finally they might be self-responsible what they have done. They develop some basic skills such as problem handling, negotiation, considering skills etc. To tutor, it upgrades both content knowledge and coaching methodologies when applying active learning. From lessons learned, teacher continually profits experience in facilitating skill, particularly it improves his/her professional development. Therefore, SCA helps to increase the educational qualify (Attard, Iorio, Geven, & Santa, 2010).

Most research and studies described the obstacles to lively learning result from the primary problems such as lacking of teaching materials, unqualified instructors, school facilities and resources, unacceptable curricula, overloaded-student in small course, low salary no motivation, ignorance from school administrators or management team, insufficient financial support, frustrating, lack of SCA understanding, and questionable between the conservers of traditional rote coaching and new dynamic learning (Bonwell, Charles, Eison, & Jame, 2000; Garvin, 2000; Maeda, Pen, Set in place, Kita, Sieng, & Naganuma, 2006; Ginsburg, 2000).

Responding the barriers which impedes the improvement of SCA, the government of Cambodia create plan to improve the numbers of school structures, provide educational resources and teaching aids, support the impressive education, create chances through workshop and professional training for educators to improve capacity properties and teaching methods, update appropriate curriculum, and increase incentive or salary by increasing the nationwide budget on educational top priority industries (MoEYS, 2003-2015; UNESCO, 2010).

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