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Facilitator's Role
The Teacher's New Role in the ETE Classroom

The amount of student learning and personal development that occurs in a classroom is directly proportional to the quality and quantity of student involvement in the educational program (Cooper and Prescott, 1989). Yet descriptive research indicates that teachers typically dominate classroom conversation, consuming nearly 70 percent of classroom time. A large portion of this teacher talk consists of lectures and directives. Such an educational environment results in learners assuming passive roles and relying mainly on auditory skills, a limited dimension of the intellect. ETE modules diminish teacher talk. By teaming students with one another, students have frequent opportunities to talk as they construct knowledge themselves in the course of solving an open-ended problem. Thus, when students use ETE modules, they may potentially use more of their intellect than they use during traditional instruction.

Facilitate Rather Than Teach
When you use ETE modules in your classroom, your role will be more that of facilitator and less that of teacher. Rather than teach content, you will manage team member interactions so that teams stay focused and make progress. With your careful encouragement, each team's problem, plan of action, and outcome will emerge on its own, the unique product of its members' collective strengths and interests. In your role of facilitator, you will begin by briefing students on the ETE modules they will be using. When team work begins, you will spend most of your time observing team members to determine what problems they are having working together and completing their assignments.

Using Restraint
You are reminded to help out only when necessary. If you must answer a question, you should be sure to ask first, "Is this a team question, " meaning, could one of the team members answer this question instead of you. You may clarify instructions, review strategies for completing an assignment, answer "teacher" questions, and demonstrate task skills as necessary. You may also assist students in developing questions that help them focus their activities or that help them decide whether particular sources of information are appropriate to their research.

In your role as facilitator, you will:

  • describe what you have observed or paraphrase the content or feeling of the team's question,
  • ask what the team has done so far to solve its problem,
  • ask what the team will do next,
  • support teams that have reached an impass as they brainstorm for a solution to a problem,
  • allow teams to choose a solution.
  • There may be times when you feel you have to intervene. For example, you may need to intervene so that students critique each other in a constructive manner or compromise for the welfare of the team

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    References
    Cooper, J., & Prescott, S. (1989, March). Cooperative learning: kids helping kids, teachers helping teachers. Materials packet for Higher Education component of AACTE Symposium. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 310 067).

     

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    Last updated April 28, 2005
       

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