For those of you who don't know, College Misery is a collectively run blog where academics whine about how horrible their lives are. There are so many fantastic things about our profession that I always felt completely baffled by the intense unhappiness of these folks.
Well, now the mystery is solved. These people hate academia because they are completely ignorant about the most basic concepts of their profession. I just read a post where a confused academic asks for explanation of the term "student-centered teaching." Another confused academic responds with the following gibberish:
Student-centered puts the onus on the faculty to provide some sort of "positive learning" experience for the student. It's about subverting the subject matter / proficiency basis with a self esteem ra ra bullshit happy student experience. This approach is based on either a false intellectual peer model where students are viewed as the pedagogical equals of faculty or a cynical, corrupt service model where students buy a happy outcome.
I teach language and literature, so all of my teaching is of necessity student-centered. Of course, there is nothing about the way I teach that the above-quoted unintelligent comment tries to insinuate. Everything is much simpler and a lot less eerie. Teacher-centered learning is the kind where the professor stands in front of the classroom and delivers a lecture. The students listen and take notes.
Student-centered learning is to teaching-centered learning what Modernist art is to Realist art. Students are not expected to be passive recipients of the teacher's attempts to explain the universe to them. They are supposed to work as hard as the professor in the classroom. Group activities, class discussions, etc. help involve students into an active process of learning.
It's always easy to bitch about how academia is unfair and you are overworked and unappreciated. It's a little harder to recognize that your own extremely low competence makes you a pariah in academia.