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.