New Insights

New insights of the roles of adult educators

What new insights have I gained in terms of the variety of roles that adult educators play?

The days when I was in elementary school and high school were long ago. My memory tells me that the school system back then was very structured and linear. Any given course seemed to be based on a pre-built template that would be very similar from school to school. The teacher simply followed a structured path; a sequence of steps from the opening day to the final day. I didn’t know that there was a number of different roles a teacher could, or would, play nor did I give any thought to the various roles any given teacher was playing.

Even in the more recent time in my life, when I attended college, I still wasn’t aware of the various roles – at least, not formally. I suppose that I’d recognized the different methods that one instructor would use versus the methods of another.

I probably recognized even less, that any given instructor can, and often does, play multiple roles. I suppose the role that a teacher plays on any given day is very situational.

  • The role may be dictated by the course itself. The course may lend itself to a very directed approach, so the instructor plays a lecturer role. I’d envision a course that teaches a topic that is a lock-step type of topic.  For example, building a computer. A computer is comprised of a number of pieces of hardware. Each piece of hardware is dependent on the other, some types of hardware are compatible with other types of hardware, and incompatible with others. Putting all of the pieces together into a functioning unit is not open to interpretation or the various personalities of the students. This type of course wouldn’t require, or make particular use of, a facilitator or mentor type of role.
  • The role may be defined by the needs of the student. Even if a course topic may lend itself to a facilitator-type role, some students may require a more directed, sequential approach to learning. The student may not have the ambition, interest, or ability to self-direct their own learning, forcing the instructor to adopt the director role.

I suppose the my greatest insight into educator’s roles is the recognition that there are numerous roles that an instructor may need to employ and the instructor needs to be aware that different circumstances may require the use of different roles.

 

 

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