User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Educator as Model Learner

with 5 comments

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 What you learn today can quickly become outdated.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 (

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 (

In some educational arenas, educators are being titled as lead learners to emphasize and model the educator as a learner.

lead 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

“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” (
  • 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:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

April 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. It’s a matter of mind… Practice what you preach… Model, demonstrate, teach, and practice, practice, practice, practice… This sounds familiar as a Responsive Classroom Teacher and as a Chief Learner. Thanks for sharing!


    April 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm

  2. Spot on Jackie, been teaching learning to learn for some time and always sharing with students what I ma learning and how as well as exploring different ways of learning for them try out. It does take some self discipline when they come to you for answers, the busier you are the easier it is to succumb and provide rather than making them, do it. Best days we had where when we gave them a problem and the resources and then stood back. Some amazing learning experiences in there and extraordinary levels of engagement as well as embedding some long term learning for the children.


    April 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm

  3. Thanks – it looks like you are doing it “right” – The best thing an educator can do is be a tour guide of learning possibilities – show students the possibilities and then get out of the way!

    Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

    April 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

  4. Reblogged this on J. CIMINI.


    April 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm

  5. Excellent writing – I enjoyed it very much!


    April 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: