Can a Learner-Centered Syllabus Change Students’ Perceptions of Student–Professor Rapport and Master Teacher Behaviors?

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There have been few studies assessing students’ use and perception of traditional teacher-centered syllabi versus learner-centered syllabi. Therefore, we compared students’ perceptions of both teacher-centered and learner-centered syllabi using an experimental design. In the present study, 90 students were randomly assigned to either learner- or teacher-centered syllabi; they rated the faculty authors using well-validated measures of teaching behaviors. Student perceptions of faculty using a learner-centered syllabus were markedly more positive; they rated faculty as more creative, caring, happy, receptive, reliable, and enthusiastic as well as having more student engagement in their class than faculty using a teacher-centered syllabus. Implications for student engagement and learning are discussed.

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