Teachers need to play a variety of roles for their students, but schools usually limit them to the roles dictated the transfer model of education. In this model, the teacher performs three jobs: selecting the material children are to absorb, presenting that material, and then administering tests that seek to determine exactly how much has been absorbed. The problems of today's schools come to the fore when you think about the challenges teachers face in each of these jobs. How can the teacher know what each student needs to learn? How can the teacher effectively "present" the material? Are the children ready to hear it? How can the tests that are commonly used determine whether children have made the appropriate generalizations, or are able to use the material in real life?
The transfer model limits the teacher to the three roles of selector, presenter, and evaluator. What about the roles of motivator, challenger, and critic? What about the roles of brainstormer, manager, and leader? Each of these roles leads to a different style of teaching, and each plays an important part in helping students learn a class of knowledge worth knowing. You might claim that, even if it isn't supported by their school, a teacher can serve as a motivator and leader. That may well be true, but only the exceptional teacher will summon up the energy and effort required to go beyond what the system naturally supports. How long until that teacher burns out?
Motivator vs. Expert
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