No more racing from one desk to the next.
Yes, this is a great way to rack up the requisite 10,000 steps per day, but think of the energy you will have in your reserves for a proper after school workout/ walk around your neighborhood.
Facilitators have way more fun.
They do not spend class time putting out mini-fires or reteaching the mini-lesson. Instead, they are able to step back and observe the class and the students hard at work engaged in the learning.
And the teacher-facilitator does this by: Doing the Work as part of their lesson planning process and preparing a succinct miniLesson that provides students with the scaffolding (skills, concepts, understandings) they will need to independently access the grade-level standards-aligned material.
Becoming a facilitator of your students classroom learning experience is a game changer.
You are shifting responsibility from solely being on you the teacher or solely on them the students, and creating a shared responsibility.
Outside of class the onus is on the teacher to plan a lesson and unit that meets the needs of students where they are and propels them forward. In class, once given the tools for success, the onus is on students to be independent thinkers and doers who use their resources (not their teacher) to successfully complete their assignments.
When teachers shift into the role of facilitator, student engagement automatically increases because students have what they need to be meaningfully and productively engaged in the work. This includes students who sometimes struggle or those students who speed through lessons. The teacher in the role of facilitator has pre-planned how best to support each student to ensure maximum engagement and productivity.
The teacher-facilitator knows exactly who is going to need extra help and how best to (and in the least amount of time) help this group of students. Students who speed through lessons are provided with questions or tasks right out of the curriculum that they can work on independently.
Having students working independent of the teacher, allows the teacher to circulate around the room eavesdropping on student-conversations, redirecting if needed, but mostly taking notes about what is being discussed that can be used to tie a bow on the lesson. Being freed up to circulate also allows the teacher the opportunity to collect data on what’s going well and what could be improved, for the next class period or the next day. Lastly, being freed up allows the teacher to identify which students will need what kinds of support moving forward. These notes will be invaluable as the teacher-facilitator fine-tunes the next lesson.
Teacher as facilitator, does not only benefit the teacher, facilitating also benefits your students.
With the right tools to access the content most students would prefer to get down to work rather than listening to a 25-minute lecture. Listening to someone talk for more than 7 minutes without being given something to actually do drains the energy out of students.
The majority of class time (no less than 20 minutes) should be decidedly dedicated to students being independently immersed in the learning objective for the day.
For historically marginalized students, who are often labeled as unmotivated and uninterested in school or learning, dedicating a chunk of time for students to grapple with the learning communicates high expectations and trust in their cognitive abilities.
A classroom that is structured around the teacher as a facilitator builds a trusting relationship among students because everyone knows what to expect and that they are going to get what they need.
Students who need additional support know there will be a chunk of time after the miniLesson where the teacher will be available to check in with them and students who work through lessons quickly know there will be a meaningful extension for them to work on.
The shift in mindset from “teaching” to facilitating learning will feel like a steep climb initially, but the payoff, high energy and vitality at the end of the day, is the gift that becoming a facilitator of classroom learning keeps on giving.