06 jun 2019 Are we ready to change your role?
Curiously, I have posted a variation of this article on a blog I used to update, almost 10 years ago. Unfortunately the question is still up to date.
In recent years, one of the main discussions in the educational business has been about finding the proper ways to face the growing need to move from print materials, and traditional pure face-to-face learning to a situation with more digital online content and self-instruction, self-paced learning, flipped classroom, etc.
We currently live in a world where students have instant access to content in as many different formats as they can think of, so, they obviously don’t enjoy doing their homework in black and white workbooks anymore. It’s dull. Completion rates can increase considerably when students are asked to do their homework online, with an interesting assignment and goal.
When I was a kid, I had to rely on the teachers and books to get the information I needed. Not anymore. Provided there’s Internet available, today’s kids can find just about anything they need in a matter of seconds. This means the teacher’s role, not only the support, has to change, too. The teacher as a presenter has no room in the school of the future.
Teachers of the new millennium have to be the ones to guide students towards their questions and interests in each topic from the syllabus, and help students transform the information they find into knowledge. The actual 21st century teacher should be the one to encourage and promote group discussions, to ask guiding and essential questions, to encourage critical and creative thinking, etc.
But then, there’s the question of the post: Is everyone ready for changing their roles? In my opinion, the vast majority of students are already anxiously waiting for it. They are more than ready for it. But it seems to me that there’s still a long way to go, and much to be done regarding teacher training.
Of course there are quite a lot of teachers and schools who have already embraced the change. But, unfortunately, these are in the top schools, that are a minority considering the whole market. I can say, without a doubt, that most teachers and schools all over Latin America don’t yet feel comfortable about really changing their roles.
So it’s high time we, publishers, teacher educators, authors, content producers, etc., worked with teachers and schools, effectively educating them about the importance of embracing the change, and, of course, training them on how to use technological gadgets and resources in an effective way, getting the best out of those tools. Reluctant educators and schools will never break this paradigm until we actually show them how an LMS or VLE, for example, can not only make their lives much easier when assigning homework and research, tracking students’ progress, recording their results, etc., but also better engage students.
What about you? Are you ready to change your role?