The Role of Teachers – Then and Now

While teachers have existed since the beginning of time, their roles have evolved greatly throughout history. Twenty years ago, a teacher’s role was radically different from what it is today.

A few years ago, a degree and a few years of experience were more than enough to become a proficient teacher. Today, time requirements and expertise have evolved, especially after the pandemic.

There is no longer an emphasis on a teacher being the sole spokesperson in the classroom, with students listening passively. Instead of a one-way lecture, they now facilitate an environment that allows for a discussion. The teacher encourages a discussion about a topic to take place while staying unbiased, as opposed to taking the initiative and speaking up primarily. In this scenario, students are able to deeply engage with what they are studying and can lead their own learning.

Traditional teaching vs. Facilitating – What’s the Difference?

In traditional teaching, the teacher provides information to students so that they can acquire knowledge. Typically, a teacher teaches while the students listen in a classroom setting. The information and the solutions are given by the teacher. The teacher is in charge of determining how much material each student has to learn. Assessments are frequently in the form of tests, that is, information must be recollected by children within strict time limits in order to be considered a success. Although this may produce academically smart children, they may lack other skills necessary to be successful in current situation.

The goal of facilitation is to help students discover and learn by themselves. The facilitator guides the learning process and provides the right questions for the learners to find the answers to. The facilitator also creates a rich environment where he / she can provide opportunities for children to explore and find answers.

Since teachers play a crucial role in improving learning outcomes, they should be well-versed in all subjects and skilled at conducting engaging lessons. To effectively support learning, especially in the society we currently live in, teachers now must learn how to combine several modes of delivery, including online, offline, and blended. To meet the challenges faced by new-age children, they must enhance their skills accordingly.

Although children can learn everything about a subject online, that may not be the most thought-provoking or interesting method of learning. This is where teachers can step in and make the material more engaging.

Changing the role of a teacher from the ‘provider of all knowledge, or a mere instructor, to a mentor or coach will lead children to be more conscious of their learning. They will also become more independent and active throughout the process and be inspired to become lifelong learners.

The use of digital tools, such as audio, video, text, live sessions, and interactive games, is evidently essential for teachers today. However, teachers must also be trained in how to effectively utilize these tools to engage their students.

The impact a teacher may have on a child’s life hasn’t altered throughout time, despite how much media and technology have progressed.

A person’s future can be significantly shaped by positive interactions with others and words of encouragement. In this regard, the importance of education does not lessen with the development of technology; rather, it increases the necessity for human interaction. The role of teachers today extends beyond merely teaching our children. In addition to educating them, they should also counsel them, act as their friend when they need one, offer a shoulder to cry on, and help them become valuable members of society.

It is important for teachers to support and encourage their students as they come to terms with their passions, identify their goals, and work toward realising those goals. A teacher-mentor mentality allows teachers to coach students and encourage them to adapt learning methods based on their own learning styles. As a result, they are challenged and inspired to learn.

Teachers have the power to influence students’ aspirations and future occupations.

Additionally, teaching entails much more than simply leading or guiding. As is often the case in life, a combination of many factors appears to be the greatest strategy, but teaching is ultimately a profession of selflessness, where the main emphasis is always on the student and their development. The most important thing to keep in mind is that no amount of technology can change it.

Both teaching and facilitating are excellent instructional strategies, but educators who are skilled at combining the two can succeed more in imparting knowledge and empowering students.

It’s time for educators to start coaching students on how to think and learn rather than telling them what to think and learn.