Teachers as Facilitators

When students ask questions and find the answers for themselves, they get involved in their own learning. Educational Dividends knows how powerful that can be for the student and the teacher. Educational Dividends also knows that creating a facilitative learning environment brings challenges for teachers.

First, teachers must adapt to a new way of teaching by managing more open ended discovery by students. This means shifting roles from a lecturer to a facilitator who provides resources, monitors progress and encourages students to problem solve. Teachers reap benefits when they see how excited their students are about applying their knowledge to solve a problem.

Second, facilitative learning requires that students do the work. However, many students, especially those who prefer to know “how to get an A,” are uncomfortable with the open-ended design of facilitative learning. They are not familiar with projects that require them to apply their knowledge and problem solve. So, at first, students can get frustrated. Teachers must teach students to manage their own learning. The result will be students who are more creative and able to apply their learning to life’s challenges. An added benefit is that teachers find once the shift to facilitative learning is implemented, students are more motivated in the classroom resulting in fewer discipline problems.

Third, facilitative learning requires students to apply their knowledge across subjects and that requires teachers in different disciplines to work together. Teachers feel comfortable managing their own classrooms but sometimes may not be used to working with their peers. Teachers must use facilitation skills to find positive ways of working on a single project with teachers in other disciplines. As a result, teachers find that working with their peers offers them more resources and ideas to share with students in their classrooms.