Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Teacher Facilitator: The new way to teach

What I consider the "typical" teacher style starts with the teacher giving the students the notes, usually through a powerpoint, and then doing some type of worksheet to practice the information from the notes.  The students then go home and do another worksheet for practice.  The whole thing starts again the next day until the unit is done and then the students do a project and take a test.  This is how I used to teach when standards first came out. I never really felt comfortable with this mode of teaching but it was all I knew.  That all changed about four years ago when I learned about a new teaching style called blended learning.

After years of dabbling with different parts of the blended learning style I decided to go all out and instead became a teacher facilitator.  

My students start the unit with an inquiry investigation.  This is usually followed by a flipped lesson where they watch a video at home and then the next day they are put into different groups depending on their level of understanding. The next two to three days are spent exploring the information using science stations.  After the science stations they explain their their knowledge using the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Format. Once they can explain the standard they extend their learning through a project.  Finally, the end is an assessment.

This way of teaching lends itself really well to the 5 E instructional model:

Engage- Inquiry Investigation
Explore- Flipped Lesson and Science Stations
Explain- Claim, Evidence, Reasoning
Extend- Project
Evaluate- Assessment

The best part of this model is watching the students grow and develop the skills to become life long learners.  Instead of being given the information, memorizing it, and then forgetting it a few weeks later. They learn how to find the information on their own and in groups.  Because they are in charge of their learning I find that they still remember the information, even months later after the topic has been taught.  

If you have switch to the teacher facilitator mode I would love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below.