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

Digital Badges for Teacher Professional Development

Increasingly, digital badges are becoming a topic of discussion for educators. A digital badge is a digitized token of recognition for acquiring a skill, demonstrating a competency, or for sharing knowledge gained from the completion of an activity or project. As more of our learning comes by way of digital connections and contributions, badges are becoming a more prominent method of acknowledging skills and accomplishments. Many teachers readily acknowledge the importance of personalization of learning for students. Shouldn't professional development experiences offer the same promise? Ask a typical teacher to describe their PD experiences in a single word and you will likely get responses such as irrelevant or  boring . Besides personalization and relevance, digital badges provide opportunities for teachers to discuss the skills and knowledge that support educational best practice, and professional growth. These conversations support the form and function of profession

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

Self-Directed vs. Self-Determined Learning; What's the Difference?

"We need to move beyond the idea that an education is something that is provided for us, and toward the idea that an education is something that we create for ourselves." - Stephen Downes In this age of abundance of information, shifting classroom pedagogy isn't nearly enough to make learning in school more relevant and authentic for the learner. Self-directed learning ( andragogy ), and self-determined learning ( heutagogy ) are the ideals necessary in making students " future ready " to live and learn in a web-connected world. While original research applied these concepts to mature learners, it has become apparent that even young children have an abundant capacity for recognizing and directing their learning. Anyone who has observed toddlers learning how to walk and talk understand the motivation and skill development that quickly develops during these processes. Considered by some to be on a learning continuum, self-directed learning, and self-determined