You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him
discover it within himself - Galileo
This is a composite role that calls upon many facets of a teacherās abilities
and common sense. It is difficult to quantify or define precisely, yet it
is not difficult to recognize when it is occurring and to know when it is
missing. It is one of the most crucial advances in developing a more complex
visualization of teacher.
Teachers who facilitate personal growth in students are unique, extraordinary,
worthy of the dedication. It requires a self assurance, a willingness to
share self, to care, to begin a journey, then launch the student on a personal
quest which may not be shared; to send the student beyond the teacher, perhaps
with the student never realizing or appreciating what was given. It is that
unqualified and indefinable difference between training and education, bossing
and leading, telling and teaching.
When we find the teacher who is a facilitator, we find a classroom where
personal growth is flourishing.
The role of facilitator is resisted for many reasons:
we tend to
teach the way we were taught
give your whole attention only when you care, which means you really love.
there is a hidden "power barrier" which literally dams up the
notion that children might be treated in any way other than as inferior,
less intelligent, less knowing - and of course they are in one sense,
and yet. . . "the child is father of the man"
we sense that telling information is faster - which would be true if students
were like computers and learned best through direct input
direct linear teaching is easier to plan, evaluate and objectify
researchers in the past suggested teachers learn to teach in one best
style and stick with it
it is frightening for some teachers to "let go of students"
for there is a sensation that there may be no way to get "control"
again, and there isnāt in the same fashion
we have never had a teacher run a classroom using this format or role,
so we have no inherent moves to model
one philosophy suggests that people are basically unmotivated and donāt
want to be at school anyway, so if allowed to choose they will choose
to do nothing
since so many districts use scores to show teaching ability it is frightening
to make a change with no assurance that students will score higher
I was so
used to having responsibility for learning in my classroom that I had
a very difficult time accepting the ideas taught in Cooperative Learning.
When I read the part about being a guide on the side rather than a sage
on the stage, I laughed. I wasn't giving up my teaching power a nd sitting
on the sidelines. I recall thinking, "I have responsibility to myself
and to humanity to see that when these students leave my math class theyāve
completed the book and taken every test. Furthermore, how am I supposed
to motiveate students to work if they are allowed to spend time talking
together. I have enough trouble now, just getting their attention when
the bell rings."
Since then I've been involved in the new math programs that suggest working
with manipulatives, teaching concepts through realism and as part of integrated
subjects. The difference in the enthusiasm and learning that takes place
isnāt even quantifiable. Not only do a adhere to the idea of being a facilitator
and guide, I'm nearly an evangalist on the subject!
Six characteristics which identify teachers who are high facilitators
of personal growth:
Listener & Communicator
in interpersonal communication (Wittmer & Myrick, p. 40)
- Good eye
attention to what is being said - particular words, body language and
non-verbal expressions, vocal tones, process and timing
- Try to
feel how the person is feeling and thinking
to become involved in how the speaker is perceiving the world
that you are listening, are following the ideas, are hearing what is
- Send awareness
of the person as a being with no judgmental overtones
recognition by checking with the person or reflecting what was said
to disclosures without rushing the person
- Work to
rescue true meanings and real needs as a part of listening
personal encounter, person to person
or retreating are minimal and real sharing in maximized
are recognized as roles and not used to distance one another
are admitted and recognized, those which are positive and those which
are less comfortable but just as real - anger, sadness, weariness, joy,
ennui, frustration, peace, need for solitude
human growth is developmental, there is a peace in letting be, in giving
time to children to see things in different ways from our own
- The right
to disagree is valued, honored, offered in peace.
When two men
inform one another of their basically different views about an object,
each aiming to convince the other of the rightness of his own way of looking
at the matter, everything depends, so far as human life is concerned,
on whether each thinks of the other as the one he is, whether each, that
is, with all his desire to influence the other, nevertheless unreservedly
accepts and confirms him in his being this man and in his being made in
this particular way. The strictness and depth of the human individuation,
the elemental otherness of the other, is then not merely noted as the
necessary starting point, but is affirmed from the one being to the other.
The desire to influence the other then does not mean the effort to change
the other, to inject one's own "rightness" into him; but it
means the effort to let that which is recognized as right, as just, as
true (and for that very reason must also be established there, in the
substance of the other), through oneās influence, take seed and grow in
the form suited in individuation. - Buber, 1967
describes true understanding - becoming immersed in how a student feels
rather than how we feel they may feel or should feel
the clues and cues another sends and validating them
what is being expressed to eliminate defensive stances or withdrawal
the student in learning to understand self, and move toward understanding
others. -- (this works better after a child is at least 7 and can become
involved in second person perspective more readily)
. . . one
ought not to equate social health with total harmony, with a lack of contradictions
and strains. Actually, vigor and creative flow have their source in internal
strains and tensions. It is the pull of opposite poles that stretches
souls. And only stretched souls make music.
- Eric Hoffer
a studentās experiences as important to him/her
respect of others as a part of the classroom system and process
- Task analyze
the times when students do not show respect to each other or the teachers
to better set up the procedures, drills and skills which will enhance
the use of respect with one another
- This is
often shown through optimism, deep interest and concern
regard, warmth and respect will earn the respect of students, while
demanding or punishing for respect will lead to anger and misbehavior
There is nothing
produced by man more powerful than an idea, yet there is nothing at birth
so delicate. An earthshaking idea could be murdered at birth by a smirk.
It has been said that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. The
problem seems to be in its surviving until its time can come! - Theodore
knowledge of subjects taught
- Love of
knowledge and learning - with a desire to share the love and the skills
when to expedite learning by sharing personal insights and when to allow
student exploration and personal discovery
involved in learning about the cultural background of students
the fundamental ideas of a field involves not only the grasping of general
principles, but also the development of an attitude toward learning and
inquiry, toward guessing and hunches, toward the possibility of solving
problems on oneās own. Just as a physicist has certain attitudes about
the ultimate orderliness of nature and a conviction that order can be
discovered, so a young physics student needs some working version of these
attitudes if he is to organize his learning in such a way as to make what
he learns usable and meaningful in his thinking. To instill such attitudes
by teaching requires something more than the mere presentation of fundamental
ideas. -Jerome Bruner
Understanding the amount of flexibility to give students on tasks and at
different stages of learning is a key to working effectively as a facilitator.
Communications for Students
Communication skills are very simple and straightforward sets of behaviors.
Young people can be taught to communicate using these behaviors, and are
quite good at doing so. Because of the pace of development of empathy and
the ability to know and care how others feel, it does take a while for empathy
and understanding to become an equal part of the communicating process.
This does not suggest that teaching children a set of skills will teach
them to communicate, but it does suggest that the skills can be put in place
and the other facets will come together over time and as a result of social
and emotional development.
Perhaps the greatest power that is called foris the power to believe in
others, to give students responsibility, and then to have the faith and
self control to let the students become fully accountable. Perhaps in
addition to faith in the final outcome, it also helps to have a mantra.
know they can do it, I can let go.
I know they can do it, I will let go.
I see they can do it . . .
I have let go."
My Declaration of Self-Esteem
I AM ME
In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me
Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone
I own everything about me - my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice,
all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself
I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears
I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.
Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me.
By so doing I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts.
I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me,
and other aspects that I do not know -
but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously
and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find
out more about me.
However I look and sound, whaterver I say and do, and whatever I think
and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me.
If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought and felt turn
out to be unfitting,
I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest,
and invent something new for that which I discarded.
I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do.
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive,
and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things
outside of me.
I own me, and therefore I can engineer me.
I am me and
I AM OKAY
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