Stephen Downes: The Role of the Educator
How often do we read about the importance of teachers in education? It must be every day, it seems. We are told about "strong empirical evidence that teachers are the most important school-based determinant of student achievement" again and again. The problem with the educational system, it is argued, is that teachers need to be held accountable. We are told we must fire incompetent teachers. Not just in the United States, but in the UK and elsewhere, the concern is that bad teachers must go. The problem with focusing on the role of the teacher, from my perspective, is that it misses the point. Let me tell you how I know this. Each of these has contributed in one way or another to an overall approach not only to learning online but to learning generally. It's an approach that emphasizes open learning and learner autonomy. Concordant with this approach has been the oft-repeated consensus that the role of the educator will change significantly. There's no end to such projects online.
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