Nov 6, 2012
Comments Off on Teaching and Learning: Inherently Required?

Teaching and Learning: Inherently Required?

With the changing tide of public education, I think we are charting territories where this essential question is being explored?

Do you need a teacher to learn?

The idea that we are learning partners, or that we are no longer the fountain of knowledge, I think lends itself to this question. If we recognize that we are facilitators, activators, or evaluators, does the role of teacher go by the wayside?

I try to think of my learning, I don’t have a teacher in the formal sense, but I do need someone. Be it the writer of a book or the maker of the YouTube video, there is someone responsible for the dissemination of the information. But what happens when we start removing the human, is Google my new teacher?

In a tinkering framework, in a place where I start a problem, then wrestle with it, rearrange the pieces until the problem is solved, experience is my teacher.

If I write a novel, edit it, and print it, in our incredibly on-demand world, and it doesn’t sell, the marketplace is my teacher?

In our budget conscious, austerity measured world, is this what the corporate interest is investigating? Isn’t the biggest single cost-savings in education always teachers?

I’ve said many times here on this blog, that I believe it is absolutely paramount that teachers are learners, but by that very nature are all learners eventually teachers, or are all learners teachers to themselves?

In fact, my ramblings and reflections on feedback have brought me to this quote from Dave Nicol, We tend to think of feedback as something a teacher provides, but if students are to become independent lifelong learners, they have to become better at judging their own work. and so again I beg the question, are teachers an absolute requirement in the learning process?

Douglas Thomas suggests that the role for teachers now is to provide, “the context not the content.” Is this where we find the need for the external instructor?

I’m not suggesting we remove teachers from the room or even that the job of a teacher is not critical, however, for how long? If learning is our purpose, do we not need to look at whether teaching is inherently required?



This blog post has been rattling around in my head for a while, I know it is greatly incomplete and states a serious of ridiculous questions, however, I needed to get it out.

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