Schools aren’t just brick and mortar structures, they’re centers of lifelong learning. Knowledge is power and teaching is the fuel! This power comes from the teacher’s knowledge of content and expertise as an educator. However, the role of teachers in a child’s education has fundamentally changed. In today’s era, teaching doesn’t consist primarily of lecturing learners who sit and dutifully listen and record what they hear, rather offers every child a rich, rewarding, and unique learning experience.
Today, the seeds of such a dramatic transformation in education are being planted which are prompted by massive revolutions in knowledge, information technology, and public demand for better learning. Schools nationwide are slowly but surely restructuring themselves. Teachers have now been rethinking every part of their jobs such as their relationship with students, colleagues, and the community, teaching strategies, the form and content of curriculum; what standards to set and how to assess whether they are being met; their preparation as teachers and their ongoing professional development; and the very structure of the schools in which they work. In a nutshell, teachers are reinventing themselves and their occupation to better serve schools and learners.
Traditionally, teachers were told what, when, and how to teach. They were expected to teach using the same methods as past generations and hence, many teachers simply stood in front of the class and delivered the same lessons year after year, growing gray and weary of not being allowed to change what they were doing.
Many teachers today, however, are encouraged to adapt and adopt new practices that acknowledge both the art and science of learning. They understand that the essence of education is a close relationship between a knowledgeable, caring adult and a secure, motivated child. They grasp that their most important role is to get to know each learner as an individual in order to comprehend his or her unique needs, learning style, social and cultural background, interests, and abilities.
The role of teachers in the modern education is to act as facilitators, adopt the role as educational guides and co-learners. Their job is to provide scaffolding to learners as they grow and mature, helping them amalgamate their social, emotional, and intellectual growth.
Educators have discovered how to make students active participants in the instructional process by letting them have their choice, voice and ownership of their learning especially when catering to an international curriculum. Learners can be tuned into various hands on learning engagement activities, project based instructional process, co-creating success criteria and rubrics for their assessment as well as allowing them to take their inquiries further through self-exploration and experiment.
One of the most powerful forces changing teachers’ and students’ roles in education is new technology. Teachers and their books were information oracles, spreading knowledge to a population with a few other ways to get it. But today’s world is awash in information from a multitude of print and electronic sources. The fundamental job of teaching is no longer to distribute facts but to help children learn how to use them by developing their abilities to think critically, solve problems, make informed judgments, and create knowledge that benefits both the students and society. Freed from the responsibility of being primary information providers, teachers have more time to spend working one-on-one or with small groups of students.
One of the most important innovations in instructional organization is team teaching, in which two or more educators share responsibility for a group of students. This means that an individual teacher no longer has to be all things to all students. This approach allows teachers to apply their strengths, interests, skills, and abilities to the greatest effect, knowing that children won’t suffer from their weaknesses, because there’s someone with a different set of abilities to back them up.
Reinventing the role of teachers inside and outside the classroom can result in significantly better schools and better-educated students. But though the roots of such improvement are taking hold in today’s schools, they need continued nurturing to grow and truly transform the learning landscape.
In this digital era, teachers’ role has shifted from mere preacher to a mentor for a learner’s learning and over-all development as a balanced citizen; motivator for slow learner and a fast learner in digital environment. He or she has to keep watch on the time spent by learners do develop time management skills to make certain that the learner utilize optimum e-resources. A facilitator needs to provide various opportunities for learners to collaborate with other learners in the class and work in groups in order to build their communication skills as well as social skills.
Teachers’ role in the 21st century has become more complex in the present changing world where knowledge is almost unlimited. Teachers are expected to become technologically oriented and responsible not only for their teaching but also for their students’ learning. Today, teachers are required to be facilitators helping learners to make judgements about the quality and validity of new sources and knowledge, be open-minded and critical independent professionals, be active co-operators, collaborators, and mediators between learners and what they need to know, and providers to scaffold understanding.
Natasha S Bhambri
Designation:- IB Homeroom Facilitator (PYP)