Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“Regardless of a Learning Center being a fresh concept in Bhutan, Paro College of Education ought to consider itself proud to have the most developed Learning Center, when matched up to other colleges in Bhutan” said Dr. Gretchen Legler, visiting professor at Paro College of Education (PCE).
Positioned in the hub of the academic structure, with extremely welcoming footsteps, beautiful, carpeted room, big transparent window, learner friendly tables and chairs, the beautiful bold tag on the doorway of the Learning Center (LC) sends the message that it is an imperative venue for learning at PCE.
The Director’s dream of a Learning Centre was materialized, when Mr. Roy and Nancy Greenwood, two Canadian volunteers started the learning centre in the year 2010. After their term of one year, another volunteer Mrs. Charlton continued with running the center until it is presently, manned by Dr. Legler.
Dr. Legler said, Learning Center embraces whole different educational philosophy which is very much in line with GNH values in education. So every college must have an active learning center to promote responsibility in learning and help with all kind of accountability of GNH Values.”
With these aims in mind and to quench the student’s thirst for learning, the center offers assistance in various fields, such as clarification of assignments, referencing, convention of writing, practicing oral presentation, finding online resources for academic literacy, peer mentoring and collaborative reading. The assistance catered to faculties also varies from research skills to application for further studies and to PhD education.
While the endeavors of center remain to provide student teacher and faculty with academic support, there are many steps needed to further progress to reach the level of a well-established center. Firstly, with regard to resources in the center, we need to have a wide range of reading materials on the shelf, different handouts, writing materials, reference book and a printer as an indispensible part of the Learning Center. These kinds of facilities made available in the room would motivate students to engage in their own education through providing services as per the needs of the students. Secondly, the human resources are very important, without which the certainty of center is lost to stagnation.   
Legler said, “Currently the two biggest challenges faced by the center, are getting students to know that there is a learning center and staffing the learning center”. Dr. Legler and Ms. Lhazom Dema tried to address the challenge of getting students to know about the existence of the LC through orientation and creating of awareness.
However, she hopes that, with the upcoming peer mentoring groups as a measure for the problem, she thinks that the problem would be resolved to some extend. The peer mentoring is one of the ways of catering to learning through sharing of ideas and information within peers. It primarily focuses on learning through the means of helping each other. The peer mentoring in the learning center would come into effect after Dr. Legler trained the group of 13 student teachers.

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