When I went to school in the 1960s education was centered around the teacher, with the teacher doing all the work of educating students. Today it is much different. The teachers have become facilitators to learning and students have become learners.
What’s the difference? today the emphasis is on learning (not teaching). It has become more important to enable learners to learn on their own than to teach facts and figures. Thats what the facilitator does, its more of monitoring and guidance of learners than displaying knowledge that would hopefully be soaked up.
I just finished another paper for class. This one was about “Reflective Thinking.” I never realized it before but that is exactly what we do every day. Think about for a minute, how many times do yo have an active, persistent, and careful consideration of some knowledge, of the grounds that support that knowledge, and the further conclusions to which that knowledge leads? I think like that every day at work; looking at technology and figuring out how it works, applications for it and how to instruct others on its use.
This post is one of those times, thinking about thinking. Thinking is not confined to the mind. We also need expression of thought, we need to (for lack of a better word) see what we are thinking of. Thats what putting it on paper is all about (for me anyway). And it doesn’t have to be on paper, it can be like this, a blog post, it could be a You Tube video, anything that allows me to share my thoughts and get input from others. … Have I learned anything if it is just stuck as a thought in my mind? There has to be some kind of action involved that puts the thought into play in a meaningful way. I’m reminded here about the Geometry proofs I had to do, I didn’t get the problem right if I didn’t “proof” it.
Input from others is another area that I never really thought about. … Other what? It doesn’t have to be another “person” it can be input from a machine, computer, animal, touch, taste, sight, hearing, another thought, they can all be an input used to move the reflective thinking process along. Through this thing called Reflective Thinking, if done properly, we can become our own facilitator. That’s quite a thought, kinda says I’m not limited in learning…anything.
So, what’s all this got to do with education? simple, really, there are no teachers and students any more; we are all facilitators and learners. Facilitators are also learners; they are learning the learning style of the learner and learning how to trigger proper thought processes in the learner, they learn how to guide. The learner is (through reflective thinking) also his or her own facilitator.
Next week I’ll conquer rocket science.