Lecture 3: Teacher as Facilitator Before we get started ...
What does ’facilitation’ mean to you?
Historical background 1. John Dewey and the primacy of experience
Dewey believed that education is not fundamentally the transmission of knowledge, but rather it is the …’ intelligently directed discovery of the meanings inherent in ordinary experience’. (1938, Experience and Education)
Teacher: intelligent direction giver
works with students’ experience 2. Abraham Maslow and humanistic psychology
Humanistic psychologists believe that in every person there is a strong desire to realize his or her full potential, to reach a level of self-actualization. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was one of the founders of humanistic psychology.
Teacher: needs to create opportunities for learning, remove ‘learning blocks’ -
the desire to learn, develop is innate 3. Carl Rogers and humanistic education
“When I have been able to transform a group … into a community of learners, then the excitement has been almost beyond belief. To free curiosity, to permit individuals to go charging off in new directions dictated by their own interest, to unleash the sense of inquiry, to open everything to questioning and exploration … - here is an experience I can never forget.” (Rogers, Freedom to Learn for the 80s, 1983:120)
Core qualities of a facilitator
(a) genuineness: means being yourself, not playing a role in front of your learners
Rogers sometimes referred to this quality as authenticity, and yet other times as congruence.
Rogers sometimes referred to this quality as unconditional positive regard. It implies a basic trust, a belief that this other person is fundamentally trustworthy.
(c) empathy, or empathic understanding: being able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes
“This kind of understanding is sharply different from the usual evaluative understanding which
follows the pattern of ‘I understand what is wrong with you.’” (ibid, p. 125)
4. Adrian Underhill’s framework of lecturer, teacher, facilitator. (See compulsory reading.)
presence: The unique psychological climate or atmosphere that a teacher creates in the classroom.
5 Earl Stevick: relationships in the classroom and group dynamics
"Success depends less on materials, techniques and linguistic analysis, and more on what goes on inside and between people in the classroom.“ (Stevick, Memory, Meaning and Method: A View of Language Teaching,1996)
“... a language class in an arena in which a number of private universes intersect one another. Each person is at the center of his or her own universe of perceptions and values, and each is affected by what the others do ...” (Stevick, Teaching Languages: A way and ways,1980)
6 Facilitation: the challenge
“The trick for the teacher is … to provide just the right amount of learning space.
If there is too little, the students will be stifled. If there is too much, the students will feel that the teacher has abandoned him.” (Stevick, Teaching Languages: A way and ways.1980)
Facilitation in practice 7 Getting the balance right
Stres-free environment - Keeping students on their toes