Monday, February 13, 2012

“Are Educators the Facilitators?” - Professor M.S.Rao

"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." - William Butler Yeats

Nowadays, tons of information is available from the internet for both students and educators. Some students think that they are equally smart like educators due to the availability of information online. However, the fact is that the students don’t know the difference between the chalk and cheese. They don’t know the difference between information and knowledge. It is the educators, who read lot of books, acquire information, do extensive research in the area, synthesize, structure and, finally, create and customize the content as per the profile of audiences and deliver the same on platter to the students in the classroom. In this regard, it is essential to know the concept of ‘Five Minds’ coined by Howard Gardner, a noted psychologist from Harvard Business School.

Howard Gardner and Five Minds

“Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.” - John Dewey

Dr. Howard Gardner coined Five Minds and explains it as follows: The Five Minds are disciplined mind, synthetic mind, creative mind, respectful mind and ethical mind. The disciplined mind helps create sustained focus in a specific area to have deeper understanding of the discipline. The synthetic mind effectively integrates various facets of the available information through thorough research thus creating meaningful and relevant knowledge for catering to students. The creative mind takes the available knowledge and creates something new by adding value to what to the existing knowledge. The respective mind tolerates and empathizes with others and, especially, appreciates the differences of opinions and ideas of others. Finally, the ethical mind deals with higher level of abstraction and conceptualization. Dr. Gardner implores educators to keep all these Five Minds in their mind to ensure effective takeaways among the students.

Educators as Facilitators

Iyanla Vanzant remarked, “Education does not take place when you learn something you did not know before. Education is your ability to use what you have learned to be better today than you were yesterday.” It is the educators who have to facilitate the learning. They should become facilitators than as educators. They must differentiate between information and knowledge. Whatever is available on the internet may be information but may not be knowledge. They must convert the information into knowledge by going beyond books and sharing their experience, expertise, knowledge and synthesize the same and provide the essences on platter to students. In addition, they must add value to what students already know to command respect and to stand out.

Presently educators face several challenges to stay ahead of others. Only the educators who are passionate and who have a vision to make a difference in the lives of students can stand out while the rest will fall flat. In addition, the expectations of the people are rising from all quarters. For instance, clients expect more from companies, employees expect more from employers, children expect more from parents and, finally, students expect more from educators. Hence, educators must pull up their socks, work hard, smart and wise to deliver their best to leave a mark behind for others to follow. Above all, they must become facilitators to ensure effective learning in the classrooms.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela

Professor M.S.Rao

Founder, MSR Leadership Consultants, India



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