The teacher’s role

Before starting to talk about what should or should be the teacher’s role, we can analyze a series of questions: What has changed in society so that we have to change the teacher’s role? What are the differences between the teachers of a few years ago, the current teachers? What do students need nowadays?

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What has changed in society so that we have to change the teacher’s role?

On the one hand, the irruption of new technologies has caused a radical change when it comes to accessing information; it is much easier nowadays to access the required information at any time. On the other hand, society is subject to dizzying changes that continually pose new problems, requiring multiple skills (initiative, creativity, use of ICT tools, problem-solving strategies, teamwork …) to create accurate knowledge that allows them to face them successfully.

What differences can there be between the teachers of a few years ago, to the current teachers?

Former teachers had a role to “teach” (explain-examine) established knowledge and give access to that information. Currently, the teacher also has a role of “teaching to learn”, so the teacher has to facilitate, promote and accompany the student learning.

The teacher of today is an apprentice who lives in a time and in a sociocultural space of permanent and changing configuration. It can be a guide and a beacon.

Claudia Santizo, researcher in education at the UAM

What do students need nowadays?

Today students must investigate so that they are the ones who present the topics and exchange information with their classmates, enriching their knowledge, while the teacher must guide the student to acquire and develop the necessary skills that will allow them to apply them in today and tomorrow.

Debates, dialogues, the interaction between students are needed. The good thing is that the student falls into account of his own ignorance and endeavours to overcome it.

Then, what is the role of the teacher?

Today the role of the teacher in today’s society is not only to teach, explain and evaluate some knowledge that ends up tagging the student. It is about going further, the teacher must focus on being a facilitator of learning to achieve greater autonomy in the student. Fostering principles such as learning to learn, meaningful learning or cooperative work is fundamental for this autonomous development that aims to develop the person, that is, we must focus more on the student and not so much on the contents.

Therefore, the teacher of today should act as a guide, being responsible for monitoring what to do of the student, to be able to guide him / her in his / her learning, as well as to facilitate the didactic strategies that allow the student to develop necessary skills in school and life: The student changes his role from a passive being to an active being, where he is the center of learning.

The teacher diagnoses problems, formulates goals, helps in the difficulties that arise, evaluates what has been learned and redirects in cases of poor learning. It is not satisfied with orienting in a group but aspires to guide also individually. Teaching is also and above all, guiding the student so that he can learn more and better. Being a guide or advisor of learning implies guiding the students in the realization of their work. Train them to learn by themselves, learning to learn and learning to think.

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