Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Taking the ego out of education

There are a number of barriers when it comes to approaching the tricky subject of converting an existing face-to-face course to being purely online. I want to concentrate in this post on what motivate thes teacher/educator to do the job they do. I touched on this in my post from last Nov – Lecture Your Way to Stardom where I put the case that, for some, the performance involved in teaching has a certain appeal. I raise this point again because I think it’s often an unspoken aspect of the teaching profession. Changing the mode of delivery from face-to-face to online (using whatever technology) has an emotion bite to it that is often underplayed and I think part of this is that the teacher doesn’t get to “perform” in the traditional sense of the word.

Or at least that is the perception. Whatever pedagogical stance you take, the educator has a vital, fundamentally important role to play. For me, there is no threat to the subject expert in formal education whatever the future holds. Online, there is ample opportunity to be the centre of attention, to perform. It may feel different but it’s there.

But why is this important? It’s important because I have a hunch, a strong hunch that many educators like the sound of their own voice, they like getting up and being the centre of attention. This is especially true if you’re good at it. Learning technologies are a threat to this position. But education should be about what’s best for the learners not the educators. We need to take the ego out of education!

4 comments:

  1. I think there's also a kind of fear of exposure. A traditional lecture, however many people attend, is private in that once it's over there's no record of it. My experience is that lecturers beginning to teach online feel 'exposed' and this is unnerving to many
    Jennie

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  2. Yes, you are right. There is a feeling of exposure and permanent that comes with the online record. However, I would suggest that standing up in front of an audience and speaking is pretty exposing. Online, if it's asynchronous, you can consider before you speak/type.
    On balance, I think any educator should have confidence in what they are saying, I would only be truely unnerved if I wasn't confident in what I was teaching.

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