The sage on the stage has gone
Are today’s teachers a guide on the side?
We can’t prepare for the future by doing what we did in the past. The bells and whistles of the factories still dictate how many schools operate but there is a glimmer of hope.
On the horizon things are beginning to change.
The role of the teacher is changing, and technology is playing a crucial role. Children come to school with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to learn. Many also come with an understanding of technology – almost as second nature. These children don’t need a guide book and they don’t need instruction, they are happy to explore, to experiment, to navigate their own path using technology to support them.
Technology is now an integral part of our children’s lives and a tool to help them learn. When thinking about what technology to use in school, we ask the children to road test it, to tell us what it can do, its possibilities and how it can support learning. Children as true partners in learning. Recently I watched four year olds working together on an interactive whiteboard, using flip cameras and laptops with more confidence than some adults. What our infant teachers, and many teachers across the world, are good at is allowing the children to learn without hindering them. They are there to support them when necessary, they facilitate their learning, they encourage their curiosity and ignite their passion. Technology is a part of our world and it would be foolish to ignore how important a part it will play in our children’s futures.
Great teachers inspire, they light passions, they support, encourage and motivate students. They don’t narrow experience and they don’t close the door to possibility.
Teachers today have a new set of challenges. With such an abundance of knowledge available to the world, with such easy access to that knowledge the role of teachers has to change. Teachers no longer hold those magical keys to a world of knowledge accesible only through the classroom. Students have one click access to more knowledge than their ancestors had in their lifetimes. They need to know that the wealth of information available to us all has to be challenged, they need critical skills, thinking skills and social skills. They need to be able to manage their emotions and develop their self awareness. How do we as teachers and educators support them in this?