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Facilitator vs Sage on the Stage

Facilitator vs Sage on the Stage

Author: Ashley Sweatt

In this lesson you will compare the role of the traditional teacher with the role of the teacher in a personalized classroom

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Hi. I'm Ashley Sweat. And today's lesson is titled Facilitator versus Sage on the Stage. Maybe you have heard of the phrase, sage on the stage, which describes the teacher who instructs an audience through lectures. In today's lesson, you will learn the role of the traditional teacher and the role of a facilitator.

What is the role of a traditional teacher? In a traditional classroom setting, the teacher is the command center. The class discussion is teacher directed with very little input from students. The teacher stands in one place in front of the classroom and recites information.

Traditional teaching methods are most often used, such as lecturing, slide show presentations, and requiring students to take notes. All decisions are made by the teacher. And students rarely have a say on how they will learn. The traditional teacher is the keeper of knowledge. The teacher has all the correct information. And the students don't get the information unless the teacher provides it for them. Therefore, the student is fully dependent on the teacher for their education.

In the traditional classroom, it is the teacher who does most of the talking. And much of the feedback that is given to students is summative, meaning it's just a grade on how well the student performed on an assessment and that feedback to assist with improvements. The traditional teacher keeps all the data, and students aren't really able to track their own progress or measure their growth between objectives.

What is the facilitator? Well, according to Webster, it is one who facilitates, especially one that helps to bring about an outcome by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision. What does a facilitator look like in the classroom? A facilitator guides students through the learning process by getting them motivated about learning and helping them along the way in small doses.

The facilitator does not do the work for them but will assist students when needed. Indirectly, the facilitator challenges students by posing questions and students use their creativity and knowledge to investigate. This process builds critical thinking skills and a sense of pride when students have learned something new through their own investigations. This also creates an environment of inquiry and authentic learning, which involves students in the learning process.

The facilitator provides constructive feedback to help a student's learning development. Learning is the responsibility of the student. The facilitator does not stand in front of the class shooting out information. The student is involved in the learning and has to put in the effort to be able to show comprehension. Students are also given more say in the classroom. Students are able to freely share their ideas and opinions about how they learn. And with that being said, learners are able to explore ideas they are curious about.

So what did you learn today? Well, today, we discussed the main difference between a traditional teacher and a facilitator. The traditional teacher is the keeper of knowledge, knows all, and basically recites information to students. On the other hand, the facilitator allows students to be a part of the learning process and encourages them to be creative and explore. A facilitator allow students to make mistakes, to find their own solutions through problem solving.

So which are you, a traditional teacher or facilitator? Well, hopefully, it's not a no-brainer. Hopefully, you're working towards to be a great facilitator to guide students through the learning process and help them on a needed basis but also giving them the independence to learn information on their own.

For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Facilitator vs Sage on the Stage"


(00:00 - 00:18) Introduction

(00:19 - 00:27) What will you learn today?

(00:28 - 01:38) What is the role of the traditional teacher?

(01:39 - 01:54)  What is a facilitator?

(01:55- 03:15) What is the role of a facilitator?

(03:16 - 03:45) What did you learn today?

(03:46 - 04:23) Which are you?


Additional Resources

Teachers as Facilitators: The Role of the Teacher in the 21st Century

This resource provides teachers with videos and tutorials on how to shift their instructional strategy to be a facilitator in their classroom. There are three activities for teachers to complete with links to the necessary resources as part of their virtual training.

Kids As Self Advocates: A Facilitator is...

This handout has been developed by students asking that teachers act as facilitators of learning in the classroom. The handout provides a clear image of the qualities and actions of a teacher as facilitator in the classroom.