Teaching and Facilitating
Presentation by Mark Feder, October 2007; revised September 2013
# 1
Extensive exploration of th...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 2
To understand what we can do as teachers to promote successful learning in
our students, it ...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 3
In our examination of the process of learning to ride a bicycle,
we will give special attent...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 4
A parent might assert, “I taught my child to ride a bike,” but perhaps the
statement, “I hel...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 5
But the actual learning is done by the child. Through the child’s effort alone
the jump is m...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 6
Learning, ultimately, can be done only by the learner. Perhaps, the most
helpful things the ...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 7
It is important to distinguish between teaching and facilitating. If we make
teaching the pr...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 8
Learning to ride a bicycle is, of course, not the same thing as learning
algebra or a foreig...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 9
AFFECTIVE DOMAIN
PSYCHE - FEELING:
Confidence
Motivation
Anxiety
Using the three domains ide...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 10
AFFECTIVE DOMAIN
PSYCHE - FEELING:
Confidence
Motivation
Anxiety
Now, let’s compare them to...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 11
Traditionally, the dispensing of information, knowledge, and skills has been
considered the...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 12
Behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner viewed learning as stimulus-response
conditioning. In...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 13
Affective elements have always been a part of pedagogy in an incidental
way, and teachers h...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 14
All three domains are undeniably important, indeed, indispensable to the
learning process, ...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 15
A sense of balance and coordination are absolutely imperative for the rider,
but those are ...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 16
No amount of skill and diligence on the teacher’s part can magically
transfer to the learne...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 17
Where the teacher can really make a difference is in the affective domain –
helping the stu...
Teaching and Facilitating
# 18
Once we understand that the function of the teacher is not to teach (i.e.
dispense informat...
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  1. 1. Teaching and Facilitating Presentation by Mark Feder, October 2007; revised September 2013 # 1 Extensive exploration of the learning process in general and the second language acquisition process in particular played a crucial role in developing the instructional plan. This presentation focuses on the role of the teacher, based on our understanding of how skills are learned.
  2. 2. Teaching and Facilitating # 2 To understand what we can do as teachers to promote successful learning in our students, it may be helpful to consider a familiar learning experience, such as swimming, driving a car or playing an instrument, that occurs outside of the classroom. A common skill that many of us learn as children with a parent playing the role of teacher is riding a bicycle.
  3. 3. Teaching and Facilitating # 3 In our examination of the process of learning to ride a bicycle, we will give special attention to two questions: What is the role of the parent or teacher? What is the role of the child or learner?
  4. 4. Teaching and Facilitating # 4 A parent might assert, “I taught my child to ride a bike,” but perhaps the statement, “I helped my child learn to ride a bike,” would be more accurate. What, actually, can a parent do to teach a child to ride? A parent can: •provide a bicycle; •find a good place to practice; •demonstrate and model how to ride; •encourage the child and give assurances of success; •give tips and advice; •suggest ways to correct problems; •make the child feel safe and secure; •try to catch the child and prevent spills; •congratulate the child for attempts and successes.
  5. 5. Teaching and Facilitating # 5 But the actual learning is done by the child. Through the child’s effort alone the jump is made from not being able to ride to being able to ride. Without the child’s effort and active participation in the learning process, nothing that a teacher can do would be sufficient, regardless of how eager the parent may be for the child to be successful. It is up to the learner. As the saying goes: You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
  6. 6. Teaching and Facilitating # 6 Learning, ultimately, can be done only by the learner. Perhaps, the most helpful things the parent can do is encourage the child to put effort into the task and remove as many obstacles as possible to the child’s commitment to the task. The parent or teacher can facilitate learning, but not actually teach the skill of riding a bicycle. Perhaps when we speak of teaching, we really mean facilitating learning. According to Carl Rogers, “all human beings have a natural propensity to learn and the role of the teacher is to facilitate such learning.”
  7. 7. Teaching and Facilitating # 7 It is important to distinguish between teaching and facilitating. If we make teaching the prime element in the process, learning is seen as an adjunct or result of that activity. The teacher is the active component and the student is relatively passive and only absorbs what is being taught. This, in fact, is the prevalent model followed by schools around the world, even though it contradicts our common experience of learning, which confirms that learning is done by the learner, while the teacher can only try to facilitate the process. This understanding of the relationship of teaching to learning is at the root of Caleb Gattegno’s insistence on “the subordination of teaching to learning” which is a fundamental principle of the Silent Way approach.
  8. 8. Teaching and Facilitating # 8 Learning to ride a bicycle is, of course, not the same thing as learning algebra or a foreign language. Is there anything about learning to ride a bicycle that applies to learning in an academic environment, and to language learning? Perhaps the lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains can shed some light on this question.
  9. 9. Teaching and Facilitating # 9 AFFECTIVE DOMAIN PSYCHE - FEELING: Confidence Motivation Anxiety Using the three domains identified by Bloom, let’s consider what skills are involved in riding and learning to ride a bicycle. COGNITIVE DOMAIN MIND - KNOWING: Parts of bicycle How to pedal, stop Safety rules PSYCHO-MOTOR DOMAIN BODY - DOING: Balance Strength Coordination
  10. 10. Teaching and Facilitating # 10 AFFECTIVE DOMAIN PSYCHE - FEELING: Confidence Motivation Anxiety Now, let’s compare them to the skills involved in learning and speaking a foreign language. COGNITIVE DOMAIN MIND - KNOWING: Vocabulary Syntax PSYCHO-MOTOR DOMAIN BODY - DOING: Producing sounds Receiving verbal signals
  11. 11. Teaching and Facilitating # 11 Traditionally, the dispensing of information, knowledge, and skills has been considered the main role of the teacher. The transfer of information from teacher to student is not only the oldest pedagogical model, but still the most prevalent one. In the field of language teaching, the central position of the cognitive domain is apparent in the venerable Grammar-Translation Method. Cognitive
  12. 12. Teaching and Facilitating # 12 Behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner viewed learning as stimulus-response conditioning. Instructional methodologies based on the Skinnerian view focus on the psycho-motor domain, utilizing repetition (reinforcement) and programmed instruction rather than understanding and cognition. In language teaching, this approach is reflected in the Audio-Lingual Method. Psycho-motor
  13. 13. Teaching and Facilitating # 13 Affective elements have always been a part of pedagogy in an incidental way, and teachers have always encouraged, coaxed and cajoled their students to learn. But the elevation of Affect as the primary focus of the teacher is relatively recent. In the field of language teaching, Community Language Learning, Suggestopedia, Silent Way, and the Natural Approach all define the teacher as facilitator rather than teacher. Affective
  14. 14. Teaching and Facilitating # 14 All three domains are undeniably important, indeed, indispensable to the learning process, but the question is whether they are equally important for teaching. In the bicycle experience, it seems pretty clear that the role of the parent or teacher is to deal primarily with affective matters. The bicycle must be provided – but providing a bicycle is not teaching. The teaching consists of helping the child to ride it.
  15. 15. Teaching and Facilitating # 15 A sense of balance and coordination are absolutely imperative for the rider, but those are not things the teacher can impart. The rider herself has to develop those abilities. What the teacher can do is provide support, assistance, advice, encouragement, and a safe environment to allow the child to take risks and develop those skills. In other words, the teacher’s role is almost entirely occupied with the affective domain.
  16. 16. Teaching and Facilitating # 16 No amount of skill and diligence on the teacher’s part can magically transfer to the learner the ability to speak a foreign language. Only the learner can make learning happen through active engagement. The teacher cannot dispense wisdom and skills in the manner of filling an empty vessel. Learners, in words of Alfie Kohn, “are not passive receptacles into which knowledge is poured.”
  17. 17. Teaching and Facilitating # 17 Where the teacher can really make a difference is in the affective domain – helping the student feel comfortable and overcome obstacles. In the words of linguist and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt, “A language cannot be taught. One can only create conditions for learning to take place.” Albert Einstein extended this view beyond language learning by saying, “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
  18. 18. Teaching and Facilitating # 18 Once we understand that the function of the teacher is not to teach (i.e. dispense information) but to facilitate learning, we arrive at a very different notion of what a class should look like. It is the learner that must be at the center of the learning process, and not the teacher, materials, textbooks, curricular objectives or prescribed methodologies. THE END

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