Teaching – The Role has Changed

Head of School

Earlier, I wrote an article entitled, Everyone can succeed – it’s all in how we measure. I consider this a companion piece and follow up to that article. If you accept, as I do, that everyone can learn then students need teachers who understand the changing role of a teacher and who are willing and able to adapt.

One of the hallmarks of education now and going forward is the diversity we know exists in how someone learns, and the autonomy and access to knowledge students can embrace when choosing what and how to learn.

Teachers must forsake the mindset that they are content experts and that their only responsibility is to transmit knowledge. They must communicate and infuse content in such a way that students are able to comprehend based on their individual learning and ability.

To remain effective teachers must be facilitators that scaffold student support as they develop personal ways of learning and growing. Great schools, therefore, need educators capable of developing learning pathways for students that empowers them to reach their full potential as productive and responsible citizens adaptable for whatever careers may emerge.

But information is everywhere and if the information found in the absence of a teacher is useful and relevant, how and where does the teacher fit in?

Teachers as facilitators will always be needed to mentor and share experiences, provide the framework for applying what is learned regardless of where it is learned, and draw links to how the ability to learn will be a powerful tool for navigating the future when the unknown future arrives.

So when a student asks what the difference is between two seemingly similar options, perhaps the use of either jump or leap, tradition would have teachers scrambling to find an immediate and meaningful answer that can actually be of use. Teachers no longer ‘own knowledge’. It is everywhere – the internet, the library, and our global connections through social networks, blogs, and internet communities, and the process of determining answers is a shared process.

As our role shifts to being a facilitator of knowledge processing and application, it is appropriate to remember that facilitators bring about a meaningful learning process, and do not simply transmit content.

Christopher White
Head of School 

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