Thursday, November 09, 2006

The 3 Roles for Future Educators

I had an epiphany on the way home from work yesterday....

I see 3 roles that eduators play that will allow us to adapt to the changes in our environment:

Librarian - Librarians gather, collect, and categorize resources to help you answer the question / do the task at hand.

Editor - Editors help people organize information in ways that make sense, eliminating the irrelevant.

Cheerleader - Cheerleaders motivate and engage the audience.

Trainers and instructional developers play these roles every day - usually in combination.

I know that when I create new training material the first thing I do is figure out what the training thing needs to accomplish. This is an editorial function.

Next, I marshall my resources. Not just books - experts, tools, graphics, movies, web sites, anything I can get my hands on to achieve the goal. Librarians are fabulous resource collectors. With the amount of information out there, we should be too.

Once I have most of what I need, I start organizing the material into something that makes sense to me and, hopefully, to others. Again, an editorial function.

We can then use our cheerleading skills to encourage people to work with us through the learning process. We play cheerleader every time we give feedback, engage the audience, and motivate the student to explore more.

I see the mentoring function we perform as a cheerleader role too. How many of you remember the inane chants from your college football games? The cheerleaders mentored you towards that learning.

From what I've seen - educators are the best at combining these three functions and we can use these skills to insert ourselves into this new world of wikis, blogs, webs, and rapid change.

Go Team!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The means to an end can be complex, and dissecting those means into each distinct method is an excellent way to enhance the effectiveness of your efforts. Beyond talent, this dissection is the only way to produce good work, and even the very talented will find their limits without self-reflection and self-appraisal of their methods.

Yet these assessments and reassessments can be their own trap, if they become their own goal and supplant the original project. We are best advised to remember that the project is primary, and that we enhance our portfolio, and our abilities most keenly when we do the hardest work, i.e. the project. Too many capable people analyze and over analyze projects because it is easy pseudo-work and makes for good conversation among peers.

Interestingly, this is a trap that many artists or intellectuals who make their living as teachers fall into. Stability and status, gained from presenting the ideas of others, often leads to laziness and to the death of the creative intellect. I have dined and danced with a few professors and often enough, their contribution to our conversation has been a series of well-worn footnotes. Oddly, their deficiencies don’t denude their arrogance. They still look condescendingly out onto the masses, while their own lives dissolve into easy chairs, movies and painless daydreams.

There is more to good teaching than just exhuming and then enthusiastically bearing the cannon to the minds of others. There is the bringing of your best as well, your own ever-continuing creative work.