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Facilitator vs Sage on the Stage

Facilitator vs Sage on the Stage

Author: Jody Waltman

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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In this tutorial, we'll compare and contrast the role of the teacher as a facilitator with the more traditional role of the teacher as the sage on the stage. We'll begin with a review of the traditional teacher role. Then we'll define a facilitator, and we'll explore the facilitator role as it applies to a teacher in a classroom environment. Let's get started.

First, let's outline the traditional role of a classroom teacher. The teacher is considered the "keeper of the knowledge". The teacher is the one who knows all of the right answers and provides those right answers to students only when they deem it is appropriate.

A teacher in a traditional classroom environment commands the class and is the primary decision maker in the classroom. In this environment, traditional instruction methods tend to be used, including lectures that may make use of a PowerPoint or smart notebook presentation.

The assessment and feedback in this environment is mostly of the summative kind. The teacher does most of the talking in the classroom and takes ownership of setting and measuring all of the objectives. As a result, the teacher also has ownership of the learning and the data in the classroom.

So what is the definition of a facilitator? According to Merriam Webster, a facilitator is "one that facilitates; especially one that helps to bring about an outcome, as learning, productivity or communication, by providing direct or unobtrusive assistance, guidance or supervision".

Already we can see that this is different than the traditional teacher role. How then can the facilitator role be applied in the classroom?

A teacher acting as a facilitator guides and coaches students through the learning process. This transfers ownership of the learning to the students, instead of the teacher. A facilitator provides the students in the classroom with choice and with a voice. Students are given opportunities to provide input and feedback to the teacher.

A teacher acting as a facilitator makes sure to create opportunities for students to create, to think critically, to collaborate with one another, and to investigate new ideas. This results in an inquiry-based, authentic learning environment that uses formative assessment and formative feedback.

In this tutorial, we examined the traditional teacher role, defined the term facilitator, and then explored how the facilitator role might apply to a classroom teacher.

Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Do you see yourself in the classroom as the sage on the stage, the keeper of all of the knowledge, or do you see yourself more as a facilitator? Could you imagine implementing some of the techniques used by a facilitator to help your students succeed?

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.

Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Facilitator vs Sage on the Stage"

(00:00 - 00:25) Introduction

(00:26 - 01:16) Traditional Teacher Role

(01:17 - 01:40) Definition of Facilitator

(01:41 - 02:25) Facilitator Role in the Classroom

(02:26 - 02:38) Review

(02:39 - 03:17) Stop and Reflect

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.