When The Teacher Is The Student

Learning how to teach can bring about a realization that the teacher has to be able to learn as well. Knowing that you yourself are a student allows for you to understand your students even better. You’ve got to fully understand your student or you’ll either plod along with little success, or you’ll end up at a dead end.

What used to work in the old days just isn’t going to cut it in this new century. It doesn’t mean that the fundamentals of education won’t work, they will, but today’s student has resources I didn’t have as a kid, but then today’s students have resources like smartphones and the internet that people from years ago didn’t have.


Research Shows

There have been studies regarding education of today and the role that an educator has to or should adopt. One of the main things is that today’s kids have the full knowledge of all mankind in the palm of their hand. They can, in an instant, find out the basic information regarding any subject. This also comes with a whole new series of slang and lexicons that today’s educator needs to know.

Add to all that the ever shifting social patterns, it can seem to be more than one can chews. We need to not make the young people adverse to presenting the information they themselves can gather and make them feel validated that they’ve taken up the initiative to research on their own. This teaches them that they have value in being students, like junior detectives or scientists who know how to track down a solution or an answer without fear of being ridiculed when incorrect.

Sometimes just giving a general idea to a student to study and investigate is enough for them to arrive at a plethora of interesting and valuable info that the educator can examine and process so that the student can comprehend full and meet the criteria of the classroom.

One of our pluses as a species is that we investigate and change our environments to enhance that investigative behavior. All animals investigate, but not like us. We enjoy searching and discovering and that’s what we have to do with our students. We have to show them the benefits of research and that they can make the big decisions on their own.

They’ll stumble around here and there, but at least they’ll know it’s up to them to pick themselves up and get right back into things. Once a student sees the reward for doing things on their own, they won’t hesitate to do so in life which means a better chance of survival.


Give Students A Long Term Goal

One thing that follows this train of educational thought is to give students a long term goal. Let them choose a topic they want to follow. Let them go at it. Let them pick something that they displaying as a talent or interest and see how well they do. Look at how they research and guide them along. Measure their skills of investigation, and applying what they’ve discovered. Some institutions have procedures that are detailed that focus on the skills students need to not only enter the present workforce, but to succeed at it. Since today we’re full of technical concepts, inventions, and ideas, the average student needs to know these and how they meld into the structure of the office. Not only social skills but a full understanding of the fundamentals of their chosen profession, but also in the technologies and techniques, and conduct a successful professional must have.

If you want to see examples of this, there are plenty. Now we have video of when in the past people had to change jobs or lost jobs due to technological advances. It was total chaos at times. People would actually starve because they couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to new ways of doing things. Matter of fact the word ‘sabotage’ comes from a time when in Indonesia, workers were threatened by the new automatic weaving looms of the day and they would take their shoes called ‘sabo’ and toss them into the machinery to disable it.


The New Classroom Model

What’s happening here is that we’re looking at the new model of classroom education. It’s a bit more complex as the old school way, but that’s the importance of what I’m talking about here. You can’t expect an education system that used to focus on people who would only enter manufacturing and agriculture and menial labor to match up with today’s need for highly technically trained people who won’t shy away from new materials and methods. Every aspect of our lives calls for some level of technical know how and the ability to not only adapt to these technologies but to master them. Seeing how essential it is for the average person to know computing just to get by, as newer technologies emerge, the purpose of the the employee of the 21st Century will something like being on those “Star Trek” television shows.


Final word

That being all said, today’s students need to be able to master, on the fly, the new advances in technology and the new lexicons that come along with them. It can be overwhelming at times, but kids are being trained while playing video games, especially the ones that emphasize success on their courage, adaptability, innovative solutions, and resourcefulness.

Each game has its own world, tools, techniques, and tactics. These games then prepare the student for the ever changing face of today’s workplace. It’s similar to the 1800s and 1900s where new machines would replace workers who couldn’t adapt. Some dreaded change and for good reason, however today it’s a matter of intelligence in using technology to do a job. Such a thing calls for a continued workplace education thus the importance of a solid education that encourages students to enjoy study without fear.

About The Author

Professor David Percival

Director of AHVC programme, and specialist in art and technology, including presence research, mixed and virtual reality.