Motivator vs. Expert

It's particularly important to separate out the role of the motivator from the role of the expert. Teachers are too often forced into the role of being the expert and too seldom given the chance to motivate their students.

The motivator is concerned with helping the student develop the right questions. Parents easily adopt this role, taking children to the zoo and pointing out the animals, for example. Once a child has a question, then it is the role of the expert to get the child to an answer. Before the expert can start, though, the child must already have had a question. The expert must follow the motivator.

The expert role is one that both teachers and parents get trapped into playing, often to their own potential embarrassment. Children can easily ask questions about animals they see in the zoo that the parent cannot answer. But parents usually do not refrain from taking their child to the zoo because they worry this might happen. Teachers, on the other hand, do fear being asked questions they cannot answer. They have become, not always willingly, the expert in the classroom. This need not be the case, however. Computers offer the possibility of separating the roles of motivator and expert, with the latter going to the computer and the former going to the friendly human who no longer needs to take the role of the answer man.

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