Nowadays a teacher can deliver classes about topics they don’t even know about
Clearly this statement may generate a lot of controversy, especially among people trained in pedagogy or experts in the area of education. Literally, one cannot teach what he does not know, but if we look at the role of teacher as a guide in an educational process inside a classroom, it is possible to make it easier for students to self-learn and acquire knowledge that the teacher doesn’t necessarily have.
For this to happen, the teacher must act as a true facilitator for learning, being there to support the student in managing their own learning process without undermining their authority, and providing the guidance and the tools for the students to advance in achieving their goals. Clearly, educational activities are still focused on teaching, with teachers “delivering lectures”, however, it is no longer effective to reach our students by delivering lectures exclusively, as students get bored easily and feel they waste their time in classes. Many educational institutions talk about the teaching-learning process, but I think that title should change to be the learning-teaching process. Changing the order of those words is key in the transformation of the activity. If the teacher focuses on the students learning and not on what the teacher teaches, the learning curve will improve. This does not mean that the teacher’s role disappears, as they can still explain complex concepts, but it allows for other ways of learning, using tools such as information technologies to be effective components in the learning process.
When teachers are ready to change their teaching methods and become more of a guide in the educational process, it opens the possibility for the student to develop unexpected abilities, creating space for unimaginable possibilities. In our experience, it has been satisfying to see that by transforming our learning activities as teachers, the students have shown more excitement once they see things from a new perspective. We believe that from these experiences, entrepreneurs are made.
Some may think that what I propose here is irresponsible, and I may receive criticism, especially from people who know me, since they know I am an engineer and I don´t have training as an educator. However, in my work as a teacher, I think it is essential to recognize and identify what teaching techniques should be used in accordance with the skills that the teacher wants to develop in a student, or group of students. I have become motivated to share this idea, as I have seen the students´ minds transformed by a change in the attitude of the teacher. This allows us to transform traditional learning activities and have a positive impact on the lives of our students, creating a better family environment and quality of life.
Currently it is popular to talk about the use and appropriation of technologies, however, it is not common that technologies are used effectively in the educational processes. There are many certified teachers in the use and appropriation of ICTs, but they generally fail to implement them in their classroom, additionally, in institutionalized educational plans, it is not evident that the teachers are supported in the use of these technologies. It is also common to talk about collaborative learning; however, this is not often applied. For example, let’s consider how difficult it is to bring teachers together to prepare a learning activity that involves knowledge from different disciplines, they do not work collaboratively. It is even more obvious to see that the directors of educational institutions also talk about collaborative learning, but do not support the transformation of the environments. The layout of the training environments helps a lot, although it is clearly not fundamental.
Still today we see that the topics and subjects are approached in an isolated and disjointed manner, for example, physics separated from chemistry and mathematics. If we integrate subjects even a little, there is much more that we can contribute to our students. It is very important that teachers work in an articulated way when they have the same students. It hurts to recognize when we do not agree on something, causing our students to waste their energies and receive different guidance as they use their creativity and imagination in areas that do not benefit them. Consequently, we indirectly contribute to the deterioration of society.
I think we have a lot to improve in this matter, although many of us do a lot for our students, it is also true that not everyone is engaging in this way, in some cases because the teacher doesn’t know how to do it and others because they don’t have the mind set to do it. I think that by transforming learning activities a little bit, it is possible to gain a lot in the process. While working as a teacher, I have taught topics that I do not know in depth, and not because I am an irresponsible person who improvises, but because of the information age in which we live. We now have new tools that, when incorporated into learning environments, act as educational sources of learning, and my knowledge as a teacher and role as a guide become an additional resource in the learning process that each student manages and builds. I invite you to reflect on this and to test if we can teach what we do not know.
Jiovany Orozco Parra