Ideas, Influence, Impact

Posts tagged ‘instruction’

Teachers as Validators of Learning

As I continue to read about competency-based education and personalized learning, I continue to see a shift in education for the role of teachers.  For years, we have discussed that teachers should not be the “sages on the stage” but rather “the guides on the sides.”  We continue to discuss that teachers should be facilitators of learning.  They should support students in developing metacognitive skills, and they should help students apply knowledge instead of just teaching content.


As we continue to transform our industrial, factory-style model of education to a more personalized learning ecosystem, I am excited and intrigued with the transformation of the teaching profession as well.  I believe that for a truly personalized learning system to occur, teachers will need to let go of some of their “instructional” duties as currently defined.  There are so many opportunities to gain knowledge and practice skills beyond the scope of the classroom, that teachers will need to do less “teaching” and more validating.  No one, especially I, believes that the role of the teacher will be less in a personalized learning system.  I think the role will change.  In fact, I am inclined to believe the stature of an educator will actually grow.


As teachers will be called upon to check the learning progress of students, to see that the students are meeting the learning expectations of the school system whether through blended learning, direct instruction, or community internships, it will be teachers that will be looked to to validate the learning of the students.  Teachers will need to have strong content knowledge, learning styles knowledge and assessment techniques.  The stature of teaching should increase as more specialized skill sets will be needed in a new personalized learning ecosystem.  It is only be teachers who will have the brain research, the social skills knowledge, the content knowledge and the pedagogical knowledge to truly determine the extent of a student’s learning progress.


As we move toward a more personalized learning system, I am excited that the role of the teacher will be enhanced not minimized.  I am excited that new skill sets will be developed, and teachers, once again, will be at the forefront of the education profession.  I look forward to their leadership being validated – as it should be.


Cogito Ergo Sum

Cogito ergo sum.

I think therefore I am. It is one of the most powerful and well-known philosophical statements ever spoken – and one of the simplest. I have thought about this statement often over the past few months as I think about how we transform education. Is it a simple solution? A simple statement? Or is it a complex problem?

I believe strongly in the power and potential of competency-based education (CBE). Yet is it a simple solution – a simple philosophical change – or a far more complex concept than even I understand? I believe at its core, competency-based education is learning that can occur, and does occur, anytime anywhere anyhow anyplace. But in that discussion we must recognize that I have described logistical and structural components of competency-based education. Certainly not it’s instructional components.

Instructionally we must think about how CBE is different. Simplistically I believe teachers teach towards a conceptual understanding. Some might say they teach a skill. Nonetheless, CBE is different from standards-based education. A competency might be a higher form of a standard if standards are the what and competencies are the how. Competencies might also encompass multiple standards and are best understood because they are cross-disciplinary. For example, we may consider reading to be a competency because it is not just for literature class but is a skill that has lifetime enduring value.

As we move forward with further discussions about the pros and cons of competency-based education, we would be wise to consider it both from a systemic perspective and from an instructional perspective. I believe the conversation will be much richer.

What are your thoughts?

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