Educator as Model Learner
The educator’s role has or should change in this age of information abundance or Education 2.0-3.0. The educator’s role has always been to model and demonstrate effective learning, but somewhere along the line, the major role of the educator became that of content and knowledge disseminator. Now in this information age content is freely and abundantly available, it is more important than ever to assist learners in the process of how to learn.
The world is changing at a rapidly accelerating pace. What you learn today can quickly become outdated. HOW to learn, though, is a skill that lasts a lifetime. When you think about it–it makes sense for us to be taught how to learn before we are taught any specific subject matter. But rarely, if ever, does that happen (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gurbaksh-chahal/learning-how-to-learn-wha_b_4790668.html).
A major role of the educator is or should be to model or demonstrate the hows or processes of learning!
Research has shown that modeling is an effective instructional strategy in that it allows students to observe the teacher’s thought processes. Using this type of instruction, teachers engage students in imitation of particular behaviors that encourage learning (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4697).
In some educational arenas, educators are being titled as lead learners to emphasize and model the educator as a learner.
Significant changes are taking place in our society and cultures, largely driven by the participative and collaborative technologies of the Web. New technologies are re-framing expectations for teaching and learning as well as the importance of helping students “learn how to learn” and become self-directed. Web 2.0 and social media are also providing new opportunities for teachers to not only help shape new learning practices, but to become re-energized learners themselves–and to model that learning in significant ways to students. Steve Hargedon http://www.edjewcon.org/blog/steve-hargadons-closing-keynote-school-2-0-becoming-the-lead-learner/
“Teaching” the process of learning has the following characteristics:
- Modeling of learning processes needs to be intentional, strategic, and overt.
- The educator should be familiar with and able to demonstrate metacognitive processes. “The most effective learners are metacognitive; that is, they are mindful of how they learn, set personal learning goals, regularly self-assess and adjust their performance, and use strategies to support their learning” (http://sites.cdnis.edu.hk/school/ls/2011/05/12/teachers-as-lead-learners/).
- For authenticity purposes, the teacher – lead learner should model learning something s/he previously did not know.
- Technology has changed the way people access and learn information and procedural knowledge, educators should demonstrate how to learn using technology.
This would require several shifts:
- Teacher education would need to devote more time, opportunities, and strategies for pre-service teachers to learn about metacognition, how people learn, and how to model-demonstrate-teach the process of learning.
- The educator, him-herself, would need to develop an attitude of the importance of assisting students how to learn.
- The systems of education would also need to focus on the process of learning as a top priority or skill for students to develop.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrsdkrebs/7777942490/