Which is it? A learning facilitator or a teacher? Which of those would better serve the future of education? The future of today’s students?
I have been pondering over this question since I read and loved the post by WM Chamberlain who wrote “…I evolved. I am a better teacher … My students have a better opportunity to succeed … In a few short years I have become less of a teacher and more of a facilitator for learning. My students are taking a responsible role in their own education.”
So here is the thing: I am not a teacher. I am a parent. I consider myself an educator, and I know I am a good facilitator of learning. But I am not a teacher. So what does distinguish people like me from teachers? Is it enough to facilitate learning?
I’ll start at the end. Some kids really do not need teachers. At least not for all topics. Not all the time. Some of the way they can do by themselves. But I wouldn’t start closing teaching academies yet. I have enormous respect for teaching methods, instructing, guiding. Even when discussing facilitating learning – there are different ways to do it. A parent-facilitator will never be the same as a teacher-facilitator. But somehow I feel there might be some things in common here: first, the credit a facilitator offers his students. The trust in the students ability and motivation to learn. Second, or perhaps this is the main thing, the ability to see the individual learner, and not a group, a class as one.
In a few years of web evolution, the importance of the individual has grown, starting with personalization features about a decade ago, and discovering the importance of the individual in huge social networks, that would not have existed without individuality.
Still, when it comes to education, no real development is happening. Wavy movements of for and against homework, recurring pressure regarding class sizes, the status of teachers, new books and booklets, replacing old books that looked so similar.
Our hope is really such unique teachers like Mr. C., who take it upon themselves to evolve professionally and bear a promise to change the future of education.