Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I am currently working as an instructional designer. But really, I am in the business of teacher-proofing education. As we move more toward online learning, or whatever you want to call it, there is more emphasis on student-driven learning, or self-directed learning. In other words, learning without a teacher. Everything you want to know, or know how to do, you can get off the Internet. I want to learn how to use the Adobe CS suite and I could either pay to take a structured face-to-face course, which seems very cumbersome, or dig up a tutorial online and learn at my own convenience. Between Open Source Courseware and You Tube, the entire world of knowledge is there for the taking. And that's great.

So, what is the point of the teacher? The thing that I am most passionate about seems to be becoming less important, and sometimes I feel like I'm the one driving it into the grave.

The thing is, I still believe in teaching, despite my current career choice, or perhaps because of what I am learning from it. I have no doubt the students can learn by themselves (some of them), but what a magical piece we are missing when we remove the teacher from education! Yes, we are technicians in a way: we write courses, we manage classrooms and behaviour, we give instruction, we assess and write reports, we prepare lesson plans and communicate with parents, we design activities, we keep up with the latest technology and try to meet the learning needs of everyone in the class. However, the teacher brings something to the class that no online program will offer: human connection. And through that human connection we get inspiration, empathy and deeper understanding. The role of the teacher is to get the students psyched on the content, on the world around them, and on their own capabilities.

"We need to be less concerned with developing and purchasing practitioner-proof products and more concerned with supporting product-proof practitioners- Jody Fitzpatrick

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