Friday, September 12, 2008

Just what I was thinking..

THE MOG BLOG continues...

This is from; a great blog relating to all this youth workery and technologery (!!!!!)

Are you a Teacher of Knowledge or a Facilitator of Learning?
September 11th, 2008 by mas | Filed under Education & Skills, Innovation & Technology.

Maybe “both” is your answer! But are you really?

I was reading this discussion about ‘Using Technology in Education‘ that includes a list of gut reaction responses by educators as to what their fears are about using technology. Some of the things I picked out from that list include:

* I feel like a dinosaur in a world of eagles.
* Not knowing the next step without assistance.
* The kids will know WAY more than I do.
* Not being able to troubleshoot when the kids run into glitches.
* Can’t figure how to do things.
* Biggest fear when things don’t work especially when the kids are flying along, it is so deflating.
* Not knowing how to do a task.
* Looking stupid
* My ineptitude will be revealed to the kids

So can you teach something without being an expert in it first?

That reminds me of conversations we had in the early days of supporting young people to deliver our training. By far the biggest concern young Trainers had with us was that they wouldn’t/weren’t taken seriously - particularly by adult youth workers. This was for a mixture of reasons - the obvious factor of age (very young people being asked to ‘instruct’ much older and sometimes elderly people), being inexperienced, and also because very often young Trainers would end up running a session that wasn’t within their normal expertise.

(Its probably also worth making a point that another factor was the attitudes from some Youth Workers who would make it very well known how ‘qualified’ and ‘experienced’ they were - an attitude I found bewildering given the purpose of their employment!)

How we supported young people to overcome this was to explain they should never assume they are more knowledgeable than the people in their sessions (young or old), and that actually this was not important. What was important was that they were experts in how we did things - they understood the course programme, the structure of the sessions, and our approach to delivering training. Their role was not to ‘educate’, but to facilitate a process through which participants would share knowledge and ideas (and therefore learn).

Everyone who’s ever done any teaching/training/coaching will be very aware that the teacher learns a considerable amount themselves through putting together and delivering teaching.

So I wonder how many of you that are involved with educating feel that in order to educate young people you have to first be an ‘expert’ yourself? Do you need to understand all aspects? or do you instead need to be willing to give things a go, experiment, explore and go on a learning journey with young people? Afterall if you’re not prepared to give something a go because you don’t understand it what sort of example is that?!