What Will A Teachers Role Be In 5 Years From Now?

17 January 2011


If you have read any of my past posts you would know that I like the work of Dan Pink especially his material on motivation (here is a link to the most recent post on the subject).  I had the opportunity to meet Dan in Sydney at the end of 2010.  Dan spoke about the changes that we are facing in the area of intelligence and how we are training our students for the past more so than the future.  One of the most rapid changes that Dan talked about was the trend of outsourcing all our less cognitive jobs to overseas countries.  Dan spoke of the need to train our students to be able to do tasks that required more creative thinking and problem solving skills.

Whilst I agree with what Dan was trying to share being a teacher I tend to see a different reality.  The reality is that the world is changing at such a rapid rate that as teachers we cannot be expected to be able to predict what the future would look like and prepare our students for that – that would be absurd.  We can however do our best to train our students to cope with change and be able to adapt to whatever they face.

There is no better example of this than the change that is taking place in our classrooms right now with the introduction of technology and the addition of the ultimate teacher (Google) to our classes.  In the past the teacher was the font of all knowledge the one who knew everything that needed to be taught.  His or her role was to pass that information onto their students.  Now, the teacher seems to be more of a choir director and coach than formal educator.  Due to the ease of access of information by the student the roll of the teacher is shifting to one where we aim to keep the class flowing and working together as each student embarks on a discovery of learning.  No longer does the teacher know everything nor do they need to.

In my opinion this opens up amazing opportunities for teachers to stop needing to teach facts and begin to teach life skills.  I personally would rather teach the students how to find, process, and reproduce information than blindly remember facts and information.  It is my belief that in the next five years you will see a radical change in demand on teachers to be tech-perts rather than experts.  Our role will become more and more that of a facilitator than a teacher.  Obviously this will be more dramatic in the facts and research based subjects such as the sciences, but the other subjects will increasingly go this way with technology becoming much more prevalent in our lessons.

What do you think? Agree or disagree?

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