Anyone can teach. We teach each other every day. For example, we give instructions to one another for such things as cooking, putting together furniture, and completing household other tasks. However, teaching someone differs from the others than the process of schooling someone. Consider the difference between informal learning and formal learning. An example of informal learning would be following a recipke to learn how to cook. On the other hand, formal learning occurs within a class room and usually is accompanied by evaluation and assessment. It may seem that teaching and schooling are the same principle; however, the difference is because of the place or context for learning.
This is the same distinction can be generated Dr. Philipp Heinrich Kindt for teaching informally (giving instructions) and teaching students in a formal class room environment. A person enters the field of education as a profession — either full time in traditional educational institutions or as an adjunct (or part time) instructor. The reasons vary for why someone would decide to get in the class room. A normal full time mentor may very well cause doing research, teaching, and publishing scholarly work. An adjunct instructor may teach in a community college, traditional college, or an online school. When someone teaches students in advanced schooling he or she may be called a facilitator, instructor, or mentor. This is important as there’s no job with the word instructor in the title.
The questions I would like to answer include: What then does it mean to be an instructor? Does it signify something different than the issued job title? What I have learned through my work in advanced schooling is that becoming an instructor is not an automatic process. Everyone who is teaching adult students is not functioning as an engaging and highly effective instructor. However, it is possible to learn how to educate rather than teach and that requires making a commitment to the profession.
What Does it Mean to explain to?
Consider teaching within the system of traditional, primary education. Those classes are teacher-led and children as students are taught what and how to learn. The teacher is considered to be the expert and markets the training process. A teacher is someone who is trained and works to engage the minds of his or her students. This form of teacher-led tutorial continues into advanced schooling, specifically traditional college classes. The teacher still stands at the front and center of the class delivering information, and students are used to this format for their experience in primary education. The instructor disseminates knowledge via a lecture and students study to pass the mandatory examinations or complete other required learning activities.
Within advanced schooling, teachers may be called instructors and they are hired as subject material experts with advanced content knowledge. The job requirements usually include holding a specific number of degree hours in the subject being trained. Teachers may also be called instructors in traditional college classes, and those positions require a critical degree with additional research requirements. For all of these roles, teaching means to signify someone who is guiding the training process by directing, telling, and helping students. The instructor or mentor is in charge, and the students must abide by and follow as directed. Here is something to consider: If that is the substance of teaching, is there an improvement between that and schooling students? Is the role of a teacher the same as that of an instructor?
What Does it Mean to be an Instructor?
Consider some basic descriptions to begin with as an approach of understanding the role of an instructor. The word “education” refers to giving instruction; “educator” refers to the person who provides instruction and is someone who is skilled in teaching; and teaching is arranged with providing details. I have expanded upon these descriptions so your word “educator” includes someone who is skilled with instruction, possesses highly developed educational skills, and holds both subject material knowledge and familiarity with adult education principles.
Skilled with Instruction: An instructor is someone who should be skilled in the art of class room instruction, knowing what tutorial strategies are competent and the areas of facilitation that require further development. An experienced instructor develops methods that will bring course materials alive by adding relevant context and motivating students to learn through class discussions and other learning activities. Instruction also includes all of the connections held with students, including all forms of communication, as every interaction has an chance of teaching.
Highly Developed Educational Skills: An instructor must also have strong educational skills and at the top of that list are writing skills. This involves strong awareness of detail on the part of the instructor and in all forms of messages disseminated, including anything written, presented, and sent via email. The ability to demonstrate strong educational skills is very important in case you are teaching classes on the web as words represent the instructor.
The use of proper formatting guidelines, according to the style prescribed by the school, is also included in the list of critical educational skills. For example, many schools have implemented APA formatting guidelines as the standard for formatting papers and working with sources. An instructor cannot adequately guide students and provide meaningful feedback if the writing style is not mastered.
Strong Knowledge Base: An instructor needs to create a knowledge base that contains subject material expertise, as related to the course or courses they are teaching, along with familiarity with adult education principles. I know of many educators who have the mandatory credit hours on their degree transcripts, yet they may don’t you have extensive experience in the field they teach. This will still allow these educators to explain to the course, provided that they make the time to see the course book and discover methods of using it to current practices within the field.
Many schools hire adjuncts with extensive work experience as the primary criteria, rather than familiarity with adult learning principles. Those instructors I have worked with who do have a strong adult education knowledge base generally acquired it through ongoing professional development. That was my goal, when i decided on a major for my doctoral degree, to understand how adults learn so that I could transform from an instructor to an instructor.
Becoming an Engaging and Highly effective Instructor
I really do not believe that many instructors intentionally consider the need to make a transformation from working as an instructor to functioning as an instructor. When someone is hired to explain to a class, someone other than a normal college mentor, they often times learn through practice and time what successful in the class room. There might be class room audits and recommendations generated for ongoing professional development. Gradually the common instructor will become an instructor as they seek out resources to help improve their teaching practices. However, I have worked with many adjunct online instructors who rely on their subject material expertise alone , nor believe there is a reason to grow as an instructor. For anyone who want to make the transformation and turn into an engaging and highly effective instructor, there are steps that can be taken and practices that can be implemented.
The 1st step: Continue to Develop Your Tutorial Practice
While any instructor can learn through time face to face, it is possible to become deliberate about this growth. There are numerous online learning resources, publications, workshops, webinars, and professional groups that would allow you to learn new methods, strategies, and practices. There are also social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter that allow for the exchange of ideas and resources within a global community of educators.
You can also utilize self-reflection as an approach of gauging your effectiveness. I’ve found that service provider to review my tutorial practice occurs immediately after a class ends. That is a time when i can assess the strategies I have used and determine if those methods were effective. Even reviewing end of course student surveys may provide insight into the perspective of my students.
Second step: Continue to Develop Your Educational Skills
I know from my work with online school development that this is an area of development that many educators could use. However, it is often known as a low priority — until it is noted in class room audits. If an instructor has weak educational writing skills, it will restrict their capacity to provide comprehensive feedback for students. For online instructors, that has a much greater impact when posted messages contain errors with punctuation, sentence structure, and formatting. The development of educational skills can be done with the use of online learning resources or workshops. Many online schools I have worked for offer school workshops and this is a valuable self-development resource.
Third step: Continue to Develop Your Subject material Expertise
Every instructor has subject material expertise that they can draw upon. However, task is keeping that knowledge current as you continue to teach for several years. The best advice I can offer is to find resources that allow you to read and learn about current thinking, research, and guidelines in your chosen field. This is necessary to your tutorial practice as students can ascertain whether you appear to be current in your knowledge, or outdated and relatively out of touch. Even the use of required textbooks does not ensure that you are applying the most current information as knowledge evolves quickly in many fields.
Next step: Continue to Develop Your Familiarity with Adult Learning
The last step or strategy that we can recommend is to gain knowledge about adult learning ideas, principles, and practices. If you are not sure of the basics there are concepts you can research including critical thinking, andragogy, self-directed learning, transformational learning, learning styles, motivation, and cognition. My suggestion is to find and read online sources related to advanced schooling and then find a subject that interests you to research further. I’ve found that the more I read about topics I quite like, the more I am creating my interest in ongoing professional development. What you would likely find is that what you learn will have a confident influence on your are an instructor and will enhance all areas of your tutorial practice.
Working as an instructor, or someone who is highly engaged in the process of helping students learn, starts with a commitment to make this a job rather than a job. I have developed a vision related to how I want to be engaged in each class I teach and I recommend the same strategy for you. You may find it useful to develop teaching goals for your career and link your class room performance to those goals. For example, do you wish to complete the mandatory facilitation tasks or would you rather put in the excess time necessary to create taking care of class conditions?
After developing a vision and teaching goals, you can create a professional development want to prompt your learning and growth in all of the areas I have addressed above. While this plan might have to have an investment of time, it is useful to remember that we always make time for whatever we believe is most important. Being an instructor is not preserving a focus on job functions, rather it is creating a love of what you do and learning how to shine for the benefit of your students. Becoming an engaging and highly effective instructor occurs when you decide that teaching students is only the main learning process, and you work to transform who you are and how you function, while working and getting together with your students.