Changing Roles: From Teacher To Facilitator

For my EDTECH 542 class, I have been asked to respond the the following questions regarding the teacher’s role in a project based learning (PBL) scenario.  All of these responses are based either in my previous classroom experience or in the cross-cultural collaboration project that I am completing with a classmate.

  • Will my role in the teaching/learning process change?

The answer is yes, but it may not be as obvious as it seems.  I consider myself a transitioning teacher, from the classroom to the virtual classroom.  However, even over the last few years as a classroom teacher, I have always made it my goal to have students produce their learning through application of knowledge.  Instead of thinking that it is the teacher’s job to give them the knowledge to apply to a situation, I usually look for ways for them to construct their knowledge.  In this role, I must be vigilant that they are not constructing false knowledge, so I try to hover nearby to correct any misdirection.   So in many ways, my role has already been changing over the last few years.

  • What are the skills of effective facilitation?

When the students are well prepared for the delivery, the lesson facilitator will become a presenter and reviewer.  The first plan in PBL is to give the students a solid foundation for where to receive their information and a clear expectation of what to do with that information.  Once this has been establish, the teacher’s presentation skills will be used for clear lesson delivery.  Much of the presentation skill is trying to identify troubled areas before the students encounter them.  After the lesson is presented, the students must feel the obligation of engagement.  As the students work through the expectations, the teacher will use reviewing skills to organize time and uninterrupted exposure for the student.

  • Will the students develop the competencies and skills needed to be successful?

The project we have made for this course is well designed with scaffolding principles, so that the students will be successful.  The first objective was to make the project interesting, so that students would be more inclined to engage in the project.  Knowing where we want the students to reach, we began to build activities that would build skills and knowledge.  The culminating activity gives the students a chance to combine the different skills for an effective presentation.  Of course, it is important to include a reflection component in the project, so students will be able to evaluate their own development.

  • What changes will you need to make in order to become an effective facilitator in your PBL unit?

Expectations are a key component in PBL.  Students need to know what they can expect and shouldn’t expect from the teacher.  Based on my previous classroom experience, I have taken on a facilitator role in many instances, however, the one area I feel that I could improve for better results is setting the level of expectation.  In a traditional classroom this means classroom management and student production management.  As I continue to develop in this area, I am eager to see how a shift from traditional classroom to a virtual classroom would affect this result.  I do know that online teaching will present it’s own challenges, but most of these challenges will make me a better facilitator.