Skip to main content

Teacher Title; Obstruction or Advantage?

"In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn." - Phil Collins


What comes to mind when you hear the word, teacher? Do you picture Albert Einstein at the chalkboard feverishly writing equations for a room full of glassy-eyed students? Systems thinker, Russell Ackoff, challenges our traditional cognitions by asking, "who in the classroom learns the most?" In the spirit of trying to do the wrong things right, Ackoff explains, "Schools are upside down. The way students should learn is by teaching others, not by being taught."

Referencing one of Will Richardson's recent Change.School provocations, "does your school or classroom apprise a culture of teaching or a culture of learning? "Many organizations are pursuing objectives contrary to their intention. It's not a matter of efficiency, it's a matter of effectiveness.", concludes Ackoff.

During last week's Change.School exploration we discussed the changing role of teachers. Some districts are removing the title of "teacher" from their official documents choosing terms such as "lead learner" or "learning professional" instead. Regarding effectiveness in a modern learning context, the word teacher is likely a misnomer. An often unrecognized paradox, with a growing emphasis on student-centered classrooms and so-called personalized learning, the effectiveness of the instructor increases when the amount of teaching decreases. Is the job title of teacher suppressing advances in professional education?

"I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." - Albert Einstein

Sometimes called peer teaching or peer-assisted learning, many advantages come to light when students teach other students. These include the development of collaboration skills, increased activity and engagement, increased opportunity for individualized instruction, and progress towards mastery learning. Recent research identifies a positive correlation between peer tutoring and academic achievement. On target with cultivating a learning culture and positive school climate, students report increased motivation, better socialization, and high satisfaction with their school experience. 

What do you think? Is the title of teacher an obstruction to the intention of school? In our modern context of ubiquitous information and limitless connectivity, the lines between instructor and pupil are unquestionably blurred. When students do the teaching, there is seemingly much to be gained by turning classroom instruction upside-down to create and sustain cultures of learning. 


photo credit: byronv2 Canal Festival 2017 042 via photopin (license)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Five Reasons Why Schoology Rocks!"

Networking at IETC last week provided me validation in my choice for best learning management system, Schoology . Having used Moodle, Edmodo, Canvas, and Blackboard, I can tell you that these are all terrific products for digital instruction. However, for the past several months, I felt that Schoology was a better choice than these previously mentioned products. Many times, asking the right questions is a precursor to making sound decisions. Here's an article that serves as a guide to asking the right questions when choosing a learning management system: 10 Questions Everyone Should Ask When Choosing an LMS Here are five reasons why Schoology remains my #1 choice for a classroom LMS: Full-featured classroom organization tools, a collaborative learning place for teachers and students, device-independent applications, Schoology API  allows the program to play nicely with others, and the basic level instructional components are, and will always be, FREE. 1.  School

Grammarly Writing Hacks for Better Blogging

Writing is learning. It's taken me about thirty years to realize the metacognitive power of written expression, the same amount of time it took for me to recognize that my writing skills suck. Apparently, time in composition class was spent daydreaming and making silly faces at girls. Today, each post is an exercise of will power, unlearning and relearning prepositional phrases, comma usage, and when to use the ever-popular semicolon. Two hundred posts into my blogging adventure I've picked up a few tricks that add efficiency to my writing, things that make me appear smarter than I really am. Freelance writer, Jennie Cromie , writing for ProBlogger.net , identifies five ways blogging can make you a better writer . Discover your voice Build social connections Acquire valuable feedback Become self-disciplined Write faster and more efficiently Writing with intent to learn is the mindset to lead with. Using the right tools permits scatterbrains like me to focu

My One Word for 2018 is Wisdom

Wisdom, according to Dictionary.com , is "the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight." "Any fool can know. The point is to understand." This quote, often incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein , provides an illustration of the value of understanding over knowledge. A simple search reveals this quote can be linked to the writing of mathematician, George Finlay Simmons .  Narrowing my thinking to one word is an interesting challenge. I have gained a greater appreciation for words and how the combination of words can convey meaning beyond definitions, beyond knowledge. Where are the resources for knowledge in a modern world? We purchased an Amazon Echo as a gift for my parents. "It's such a smart and funny device," says my mom. Alexa has a seemingly unlimited access to information, music, and jokes, but does she understand? Can