Will Richardson on Teacher Learners

Okay, I’m behind in my blog reading, but I just finished Will Richardson’s post on Teacher Learners from a week or so ago, in which he asserts:

[W]e need to start looking at our students more as resources instead of recepticles. We need to be able to let go of some of those traditional roles and … focus more on teaching and showing students how to manage their own learning.

This is right on target, but it highlights an interesting and difficult question: What is the appropriate role of the teacher if students are in charge of their own learning? Does the course become a performance, where students are actors and the teacher is the director? I don’t mean performance in the sense of entertainment, but rather in the sense of an organic whole, where the exact outcome is uncertain though hopefully it is more than the sum of the pieces.

This differs from two other views of education: the more sterile (if traditional) transmission view of a course as a known body of knowledge which the teacher seeks to transmit to the students, and the more interesting view of teaching as a process of passing on an art or craft–teaching students to do economics or literary criticism, for example.

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