From “Teacher” to “Facilitator”

Ed Tech 542 Week 9/10 Learning Log Task 

In my eleven years of teaching I never viewed myself as the be all, end all, know it all at the front of the classroom.  I was fortunate to have few teachers that taught that way through my educational journey, and I found that those who did were often the least effective in not only the transfer of their expertise but also in classroom management and student rapport.  This is why I believe that the shift from “teacher” to “facilitator” when presenting a PBL project will be a natural one for me.

  • Will my roll change? 
    • My roll will change in that I will be directing my students to identify and set their own learning goals.  Thus far I have successfully implemented various units of inquiry but I often set the learning goals for students when doing this, though I provide opportunity for them to branch out on their own in extension projects, they still have clearly defined destinations or outcomes of their learning that I have identified.
  • What are skills of effective facilitation?
    • Effective facilitation requires one to become a skilled listener and an efficient questioner.  When facilitating a project such as a PBL the students needs and wants regarding their learning must be heard and identified first and foremost in order for them to begin to form a path for their journey.  While listening to these needs and wants it is the job of the facilitator to question students in a way that helps them better understand their purpose, their audience, and the steps they need to take to find an answer to their question and how they will present this answer to their audience.  An effective facilitator will not give their input to students in the form of suggestions but rather lead them to this destination on their own through guiding questions, much as an instructional coach would do for a teacher in reflecting upon their teaching needs and wants.
  • Will the students develop the competencies and skills needed to be successful? 
    • Through thoughtful questioning and reflection opportunities modeled and practiced with the facilitator I believe the students will absolutely develop the competencies and skills needed to become successful.  This process will allow for the facilitator (me) to help students through their cognitive struggles in small group or even individual environments.  With this opportunity the student will gain the insight into what is causing them to struggle and work with the facilitator to identify tools that will help them overcome the struggle.  This in turn will help students to overcome the obstacle of apathy or giving in when things become difficult for them and in addition to the content related competencies and skills they are building help them to develop grit and perseverance.
  • What changes will you need to make in order to become an effective facilitator in you PBL unit? 
    • Some changes I will need to make, or rather some tools I will need to create before I employ a successful PBL unit will be to create a set of “go to” questions to have at the ready when my students encounter struggle.  I would like to have these questions ready so I can strategically lead students through deeper levels of understanding but ensure that I am providing the appropriate scaffolding in my questions to get them to those levels.  Secondly, I will need to prepare a plan for recording which students I’ve checked in with to ensure that I am providing all students the same opportunity for those individual or small group check ins and that a specific student or group of students don’t monopolize those opportunities or get left out.  This will also enable me to note where the group or student currently is on their learning journey which will provide opportunity for me to identify questions to utilize on my next check in with them.
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