I have an activity in a session I run on active learning where I ask ‘what is the role of the teacher in the active classroom?’ and ask people to come up with better suggestions than ‘teacher’ to describe the role. Giving the role a name helps us to focus on the range of roles performed by the teacher or lecturer.
Barrett and Moore (2001) have a good list in their book of problem-based learning. But we always add to it. So, the first few come from them, and then the rest are other ideas that participants (I say participants, but do I mean students, or learners, or..?!) have generated:
- Facilitator – facilitates learning – not provider of content
- Observer – observes and listens, ready to intervene
- Interrogator – asks probing, challenging questions
- Quality controller – sets expectations of students to evidence their thinking
- Connector – sets expectations of students to apply theory to practice
- Orchestrator – ensures individuals contribute through independent study and group-based learning
- Co-ordinator – ensures students reflect on and in their learning
- Reviewer – facilitates the review of learning episodes through summary discussion
Here are other suggestions:
- space creator
- winkler, teaser-outer
- medler in the middle
Obviously, most of these suggestions are derived from verbs, nevertheless they do provide an indication of the agility needed by the active learning… teacher!
Barrett, T. & Moore, S., eds. (2011). New approaches to problem-based learning: revitalising your practice in higher education. London & New York: Routledge.