Centered on Us

New Teaching Technique Being Tried at THS

English teacher Sarah Scruton from Triton High School breaks down a thesis statement made by one of her freshmen students to her D period freshmen class (Clifford photo).

Sadie Clifford

English teacher Sarah Scruton from Triton High School breaks down a thesis statement made by one of her freshmen students to her D period freshmen class (Clifford photo).

English teacher Sarah Scruton wants to make her students the focus of their own learning processes. 

As Triton High School takes on the 2022-2023 school year, teachers are beginning to transition into a new type of learning technique. Student-centered learning isn’t new to the Triton District, but it has never been a direct focus. Scruton is one teacher leader who plans to apply the student-centered learning technique to her classes this year and focus more on her students as a whole. 

“It gives every student a chance to plug in,” Scruton said.

Every ten years, schools go through an accreditation process. The idea of focusing more on student-centered learning was brought to Triton’s attention by Triton’s accreditation report, issued last year. Triton High School is not new to this method of learning but it hasn’t been brought into direct focus before. 

Patrick Kelley, the principal of Triton High School, has been working to spread awareness of this technique. As of last year, Triton High School was still rebuilding after the pandemic came through. Students’ academic staminas were ultimately washed out by the pandemic. In hopes to bring them back, Kelley, Scruton, and many others want to center their focus on the students and the way they learn best individually. 

“The teachers aren’t doing all of the work this way. The  students are carrying more weight and are given more opportunities to make their own decisions,” Kelley said. 

Throughout the year, Scruton plans to entice students with independent reading in her classes. She says that in most past English classes, students were given books to read and answer questions about. This year, Scruton wants her students to be able to choose their independent reading books. To be able to choose their own books that they are interested in reading will give them the motivation to actually read it, Scruton said. 

At the end of last year, Scruton introduced a writing project to her junior students that was student-centered. Scruton had given her students guidelines to follow, but their topic and the way they wrote about said topic was all up to the students themselves. 

Student Sidney Golbitz, a senior at Triton High School, was one of the juniors that participated in the project-based writing assignment last year. Golbitz said that essentially students got to pick whatever they wanted to write about and that the assignment was very open ended and all up to them. 

“I could do what I wanted,” Golbitz said. “I wasn’t stuck because I wasn’t writing about something I didn’t want to.” 

 According to John McCarthy’s article “Student Centered Learning: It Starts With the Teacher,” from, classrooms that are under the influence of student centered learning include self application, students that self-plan, and assessments. Learners who are actively involved in these techniques will gradually have more work put on them, which in this case makes for a good outcome. To be able to implement this style of learning, teachers need to be open to altering their leadership styles from directive to consultative “..from ‘Do as I say’ to ‘Based on your needs, let’s co-develop and implement a plan of action.’” 

Becton Loveless’ article “Developing a Student-centered Learning Classroom,” from further explains the factors of student-centered learning are very important in the process of aiding students in developing those skills that are required to be able to problem solve and for their lifelong learning processes. Compared to a classroom where the teacher is the focus and is teaching students up in front of the class, giving them more of an opportunity to just listen and not take part in the process themselves, student-centered learning is a big step in the right direction.