Technology is creeping into every classroom. I say ‘creeping’ because a large part of a typical student’s day at many schools can still be defined by activities involving paper, a pen or pencils, and worksheets or textbooks… Useful tools that should only have a small role in teaching today. The problem is that teaching, where the tools are primarily used for sharing static information, is dead.
A large part of a typical student’s day at many schools can also be defined by the traditional role of a teacher as the expert in the room, sharing content. A useful role that should only have a small part in teaching today. The problem is that teaching, where the teacher is primarily seen as a content delivery person, is dead.
Teaching as we have known it in the past may be dead, but the role of the teacher is more important than ever before!
The King is dead, long live The King! …is a traditional proclamation made
following the accession of a new monarch in various countries.
Teaching is dead, long live the teacher! …is a new proclamation made
following the rise of the role of the teacher in the field of education.
The role of the teacher needs to look different than it ‘traditionally’ has. That said, the roles I’m about to describe aren’t necessarily new and novel. Rather, they are roles teachers have played to varying degree for years, but have been predominately overshadowed by more traditional teaching roles.
Here are some of the roles:
Teachers as facilitator: Who constructs learning experiences and supports student-led opportunities.
Teacher as coach: Who prompts students and provides them with timely feedback to keep them on track and on task.
Teacher as mentor: Who has expertise in skill or content areas and/or supports students in finding mentors beyond the school walls.
Teacher as cheerleader: Who supports students when they feel they have hit an obstacle, but who also pushes students to problem solve, rather than helping them and making the problem too easy to overcome.
Teacher as storyteller: Who can share content and/or share cross-curricular connections in a way that captivates students and entices them to want to learn more.
Teacher as philosopher: Who asks big questions and is willing to challenge the answers students, and they themselves, come up with.
Teacher as consultant: Who advises students what to do next, but leaves the work in their capable hands.
Teacher as idea incubator: Who questions students so that they can think in new directions.
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Teacher as ____________: Fill-in-the-blank… Help me add to the list. What do you see as one of the many newly emphasized roles that redefine what the role of the teacher is today?
Long live the teacher!
ps. 1. I’m partial to getting rid of the term teacher and using the term educator. 2. Thanks to John Sarte for helping me with some of the definitions you see above. Follow John, @mrsarte1, whose twitter profile describes him as “Inquiry Hub facilitator…”