What Four Skill Domains Do Educators Need for Learner-Centered Teaching?

By Rebecca E. Wolfe
May 1, 2017

Gone is the default image of a teacher—an adult lecturing to students seated neatly in rows, assigning the same textbook pages to everyone, and administering the same quiz on the same day to the entire class.

Instead, teachers in personalized, learner-centered settings are called upon to assess and address individual student needs and help all reach rigorous proficiency standards. These educators promote collaborative work among groups of students; integrate learning experiences that occur outside the classroom; and, above all, foster learner independence and student voice and choice.



Achieving this ambitious vision is only possible with significant changes in the very role of the educator and the ways in which educators interact with students, peers, and the broader community.

Research shows that student learning, achievement, and well-being benefit from this type of rich student-centered learning environment[1]. But to create and thrive in personalized, learner-centered environments, educators need to cultivate unique capabilities that can be divided into four domains:

1. Cognitive

CognitiveWhat educators need to know in order to create and thrive in learner-centered environments. The content knowledge–of both the subject matter and human development–that together best promote learning.


2. Intrapersonal

IntrapersonalThe educator’s personal habits of mind, expectations for students, and assumptions about the teaching profession that help establish cultures of lifelong learning.

3. Interpersonal

InterpersonalThe ability to relate socially and personally to create beneficial relationships with students, peers and the community.

4. Instructional


The techniques, curriculum, and assessment that brings learner-centered approaches alive inside and beyond the classroom.



Explore an interactive model of these domains and a link to related resources to help get you started here.

You Might Also Be Interested In

Skip to content