To say you are ‘a teacher’ is a bit on the vague side.
Yes, you might teach and let rip what you know but teaching is more than that. It’s chiefly about ‘facilitating’.
Of course, teachers hate to be called facilitators because it can make them sound like a personal growth trainer or counsellor, both of which are a actually a key part of the job too.
But teachers do do an incredible amount of facilitating, coaxing, nudging, pushing and pulling, especially in group situations. Arguably, teachers don’t teach much because they are so busy facilitating and that’s no bad thing. They support children as they learn rather than give it all on a plate ready to eat by bringing out and focusing the wisdom of the group.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways teachers facilitate:
1. In Neutral
The neutral facilitator enables children to explore and investigate a variety of different viewpoints without stating their own opinion. Also acts as a referee.
2. Devil’s advocate
Lots of teachers enjoy adopting the opposite view to confront and intentionally poke other world views irrespective of their own. This role means being ‘deliberately awkward’ as a way of promoting cognitive conflict.
3. Showing your colours
Here the facilitating teacher declares their own position and interests so that learners knows their views.
The facilitator supports the views of a particular sub-group, minority or individual and acts as a ‘friend’ and supporter.
5. The ‘Official’
In this role, the facilitator acts as the source of knowledge to inform learners of an official position on certain issues e.g. facts, the law etc.
Similar to a devil’s advocate, the challenger will pose questions and ask learners to justify their ideas with examples and evidence.
The facilitator presents an argument, viewpoint or information that is deliberately provocative. The view isn’t something they necessarily agree with but present it with conviction as representative of the authentic beliefs of other individuals or groups.
The provocateur may go one step further and take on the role and identity of someone else such as a politician or world leader and put across their arguments and position to the class.
9. The Salesperson
The ‘sales’ facilitator tries to convince children of something and so attempts to guide a group to a particular conclusion or action.
10. The Dipper
This facilitator works on the perimeter of each group and dips in and out of conversations offering thoughts, pointers and reassurance.
Interestingly, we might have particular roles that will unconsciously adopt as our norm. We might therefore be a bit lop-sided.
Taking on different facilitating roles is important so we don’t become just one type. The best type of teachers don’t actually teach, they adopt different identities.