Pedagogy og technology

Teachers role

The Teachers Role

Blooms Taxonomy ] [ Teacher in Centre ]

It is commonly agreed upon that a new role of the teacher is a key issue in connection with use of new technology. This is obviously true, but there are few in-depth analyses of what this role is, beyond some general statements that the role must put more emphasize on counselling and less on traditional classrom activities.

We may look for some footholds for a more nuanced description.

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms taxonomy of educational objectives [15] in the cognitive domain from the 50's are well known to pedagogues. It may serve as a foothold for some central problems that challenge the teachers role.

    Evaluation appraises, concludes, confronts, criticizes, decides, defends, interprets, judges, justifies, reframes, translates
    Synthesis adapts, anticipates, categories, collaborates, combines, communicates, compares, compiles, composes, contracts, contrasts, creates, designs, devises, expresses, facilitates, formulates, generates, incorporates, individualises, initiates, integrates, intervenes, models, modifies, negotiates, plans, progresses, rearranges, reconstructs, reinforces, reorganises, revises, structures, substitutes, validates.
    Analysis breaks down, correlates, diagrams, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, focuses, illustrates, infers, limits, outlines, points out, prioritises, recognises, separates, subdivides
    Application acts, administers, articulates, assesses, charts, collects, computes, constructs, contributes, controls, determines, develops, discovers, establishes, extends, implements, includes, informs, instructs, operationalizes, participates, predicts, prepares, preserves, produces, projects, provides, records, relates, reports, shows, solves, takes, teaches, transfers, uses, utilises.
    Comprehension classifies, cites, converts, describes, discusses, estimates, explains, generalises, gives examples, paraphrases, summarises, understands.
    Knowledge defines, enumerates, identifies, labels, lists, matches, names, reads, reproduces, restates, selects, states, views

A rich, unlimited access to information will easily support an activity in the lower part of this ladder, both for students and teachers. At the same time the situation demands that we gives the learner training in operating on the top of the table. It is important that the learner is trained in evaluation of available information, and knowledge. To be conscious of own learning is crucial in a perspective of life long learning.

One of the fundamental problems we experience in higher education is that the students expect to be teached. This indicates and invites a communication on the lower levels.

There is a great challenge to teachers in all levels of education in this situation. The teachers role will in many ways be more difficult when the access to information increases and the control of the information decreases. A development in the direction of mentor or counsellor is not trivial. The probably greatest, or at least the most underestimated, demand is the demand for competence. Teachers who settle for a communication on the lower levels will inevitably be unmasked when confronted with alternative knowledge. Such alternative knowledge must be explicitly evaluated, both to evaluate its value in the actual situation, but most of all to contribute to the students own training in evaluation.


Teacher in Centre

In the coarse models I have used to describe the three phases, Skinner, Piaget and Rousseau, I have without further comments placed the pupil or student alone in relation to a structure, and have said nothing about the position of the teacher in relation to these structures.

skinner In Skinner's world it is clear that the teacher has prepared the whole learning process in detail, and during the learning takes on the role as observer and evaluator. The teacher is clearly outside the structure and there is no active participation from the teachers side once the setup is ready.
piaget In the Piaget phase the program designer, teacher or not, has laid down the rules and the premises for the learning that takes place. There is a certain room for experimenting in a relatively open structure, but this freedom is limited and within frames, the microworld is closed. The existing freedom does lead to some of the difficulties discussed earlier. The distance from the teacher to the designer does also create a distance from the teacher to both the product and the learning process.
roussau I Rousseau's image the teacher has voluntary or involuntary, given up control. Much of the praxis we see are implicit or explicit attempts to regain control over the structure. Such attempts are probably necessary and in some cases wise, but there is a great danger that it is done on wrong premises. It happens to a great extent after a model which are outdated by the technology. The teacher as a director and controller of information is no longer possible.
larerogelev The challenge is to take part in the learning on the premises of the student and the surroundings. If we extend the metaphor we have used to illustrate the history, we must find a place for the teacher within the structure. Teacher and student must to a great extent share the challenges and cooperate in transforming information into knowledge, whether it is done in a project oriented approach or not.

There is of course nothing new in this approach. The interesting and challenging part is that it is the technology which provokes this situation, and suggests a solution. Papert, who introduced Logo in the 80's, have made some interesting comments on this situation[17]. He claims that the technology for the first time has made activity pedagogy feasible. It is tempting to say that it is not only possible, but necessary.