A new breed of educator

We cannot serve the needs of today’s children with 19th Century mindsets. A new breed of educator is required. The educators of the future must be individuals free of the desire to intrude, impose or interfere in children’s learning. Adults who trust themselves enough to trust children to be responsible for directing their own education. Adults who embody unconditional love for each child. Honest adults, unafraid to admit when they do not know the answer to a question posed by a child, and always willing to set about discovering the answer in partnership with the child. Adults who treat children as equals and ‘co-learners’ on the lifelong journey that is education. ‘Teacher’ is not an appropriate term to describe these individuals. They will be variously known as learning consultants, educational facilitators, coaches and mentors.

We are all teachers. Each and every one of us is a teacher because we are all role models; we are all setting an example for others by the way we choose to lead our lives. Children learn so much from observing and imitating the behaviours of their role models; thus all adults have a crucially important role to play in the education of children. The teaching function belongs to the whole community; it is a collective responsibility.

“You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself” — Galileo

No child has ever been, is, or ever will be, ‘taught’ by anyone outside of himself. Teaching is sharing of knowledge, role-modelling, example setting or the presentation of an individual’s perspective. It is a mistake to confuse teaching with learning. An ounce of teaching does not equate to an ounce of learning. Learning is a process that the learner does, not a process done to him. The learner always has the choice to take or leave the teaching, depending on whether or not he cares about it.

The ‘professional teacher’, trained and qualified to deliver knowledge in one or two subject areas, is a completely redundant concept in the context of the post-industrial age in which we now live. The notion that there exists a set body of content or information that must be imparted to every child in order that they are prepared for adulthood is a fallacy. Children must be free to pursue their own interests and passions for only they know what they need to learn in order to fulfil their destinies.

Professional teachers are thus the hapless crew on a sinking ship. In relation to their traditionally understood functions, children no longer require their services. It is time for them to abandon their decrepit vessel and to renounce their allegiance to the short-sighted and self-serving captain called government.

Each of us is our own best teacher and authority. The role of the new educator is to assist the child in removing any obstacles blocking the path to accessing his own inner teacher and the inherent genius that resides within. In most cases, this will involve the educator doing absolutely nothing. Paradoxically, it is in doing nothing that such an educator will achieve everything.