To be effective "teaching methods must imply a profound trust in the human organism to develop his own potentiality" (Carl Rogers). 

 

 

                Teacher as Facilitator of Learning: Teacher Attitudes, Attitudinal Qualities or 'Attributes'

 

 

The natural starting point of education is the awakening and broadening of learner interest. This depends on the establishment of a learning environment which is characterised by the teacher's positive attitudes or 'attributes'.  

 

 theme: The teacher as facilitator is a person of integrity who projects a genuine concern for people... a concern based on trust in their essential nature.... their 'human nature'... their humanity. With these attributes the facilitative teacher is like a magnet who generates trust and affection... has  the powerful effect of stimulating their students to learn. "The facilitation of significant learning rests upon certain attitudinal qualities which exist in the personal relationship between the facilitator and the learner." (Carl Rogers. Freedom To Learn.)

 

                                                                                                                         

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teacher's role in traditional paradigm...     knowledge as reason...  

 

conditions for growth promoting climate and importance of teacher's personality...  

 

             personality congruence...    unconditional positive regard...  empathic understanding...

 

facilitative teacher is realistic...   facilitative teacher as guide to resources...  

 

implictions for education and teacher training...

 

Teacher's role in the traditional paradigm as 'instruction' of finite knowledge  The paradigm of traditional education is based on the assumption that 'knowledge' is finite and unchanging. Finite knowledge is regarded as an ingredient of education which the student must possess in order to control their future. The role of the teacher is perceived in terms of instruction as transferring and distributing this finite knowledge. The job of instruction is allocated to those considered to be of higher status and supposedly wiser. Methods of instruction emphasise learning through repetition or 'rote' i.e. 'rote learning'. Students' inner life is ignored. There is little regard for the psychological motives for learning behaviour... the 'human needs'... and how they function in personality growth and development. Disregard for human needs emerges from the basic mistrust of the 'human personality' or 'human nature'. This mistrust of human nature translates into the desire to guide, to instruct, to reward, to punish and to control.

 

Ignoring the inner life of personal growth ignores the brain's natural functioning and  hampers development of rational thought or 'reason' as the basis for human knowledge.

 

  Knowledge derived from rational thought or 'reason' is elusive and ever-changing. It cannot be possessed. The acquisition of knowledge through reason depends on mature growth and development for 'self-fulfillment' or 'self-actualisation'. Self-actualisation is a function of knowledge of one’s own human personality or 'human nature' as a social nature, one’s 'self' i.e. 'self-knowledge'. With self-knowledge comes the recognition and respect for other people's  personal intrinsic needs as well the recognition and respect for one's own. Respect for human needs is the basis for education for developmental growth and development i.e. education for the person as a whole... 'person-centred education' or ‘holistic education’.

 

 The growth-promoting climate of holistic education depends on facilitative teachers with certain attitudinal qualities or 'attributes'.  Teacher attributes include a positive self-concept or 'personality congruence', fundamental trusting of the person or 'unconditional positive regard' and an understanding of what it is like to be in the other person's position, that is non-possessive caring or 'empathic understanding'.

 

The teacher's personality is of paramount importance since their function is to create a classroom climate with conditions which facilitate growth through self-initiated learning... the 'freedom to learn' .

  

 What is personality congruence? The effective teacher attribute is to be real about oneself... be have 'positive self-concept' ..  of the harmonious functioning of an individual's awareness and expression i.e. 'personality congruence'. The congruent person is conscious of their own feelings of anger, frustration, sympathy, enthusiasm, boredom, sensitivity, they accept their feelings as their own and do not need to disguise them and then project them onto others in the form of opinions and judgments. The congruent person is a vital person who discloses their feelings and convictions... and is able to share them openly with others. They are honest about themselves in their relationships with others able to share feelings of anger and frustration as well as feelings of sweetness and light. An important attitude: having a basic trust, 'prizing' the learner, their feelings, their opinions, their person; caring without being possessive. "The facilitator's prizing or acceptance of the learner is an operational expression of his essential confidence and trust of the human organism." (Carl Rogers). The authenticity of the congruent personality enhances the authenticity of others. 

 

 What is unconditional positive regard? The congruent person has an 'unconditional positive regard' towards others derived from a profound trust in the nature of the human organism i.e. 'human nature'. They regard each individual as essentially trustworthy and therefore capable of evaluating their own situation and making constructive efforts to develop their own potentiality. They respect the other person as a behaving and reactive organism with the potential for purposeful development. They regard the educational process as a means for the instinctive development of personality and individuality...  including emotional, psychological and spiritual as well as intellectual maturation which results in development of 'moral consciousness' or 'conscience'. Developed conscience is the source of self-determination, self-respect and self-discipline.   

 

 What is empathic understanding? The congruent person is an empathetic person who has a non-possessive caring for the other person's inner world and inner life i.e. empathy or 'empathic understanding'. Empathic understanding what's it is like to be in the other person's shoes.They are sensitive to the feelings of others and respond to their ideas and opinions, assist them in understanding their own world and their behaviour in it. They reduce the power which others have had in inculcating guilt and fear and they help others to increase their sense of personal power to control their own lives. As empathetic educator in the context of learning situations, they are aware of the learning process from the learner's point of view. They convey a genuine interest in the learner's intrinsic motives or intrinsic motivation  for learning. They value each learner in terms of their own potentialities. They acknowledge the learner's feelings of fear for new problems as well as their feelings of satisfaction with each new achievement. The educator's basic trust in the capacity of the learner to develop their own potentiality enhances the desire to learn and the desire to work.

 

Positive teacher attitudes result in effective teaching and real learning whatever the teaching methods and whatever the learner's age or learning level. The responsibility of the educator is to facilitate the kind of learning which will empower the individual to live productively in a social context and then to free them as an intelligent being, able to utilise their talents in resolving life's problems.

 

 These teacher attributes are perceived by the learner on both conscious and subconscious levels of perception. They are important in the learning process because they activate the 'brain' and its naturally holistic functioning as the organ for making meaning of environmental stiluli or 'learning'. 'Brain-based learning' is  'real learning' which takes place in a growth-promoting climate of freedom with respect and responsibility based on realistic perceptions. In such a climate, everyone is both learner and teacher. Not only does the teacher teach the students but students teach each other and they teach the teacher. Teaching becomes a community project in which learners are allowed to enjoy learning for its own sake in a context of creation. They discover what it means to be autonomous, spontaneous and creative as they gain in personal psychological maturity through their own hard work, frustration and perseverance in their efforts to reach their own goals. They learn the satisfaction of responsible freedom for their own powers of imagination and natural curiosity in the world around them. They learn the values of mutual respect, cooperation and friendship in that they contribute to the conditions of safety and security that are important in reducing the threat which inhibits learning. In this learning context the teacher cares without being possessive, prizes the learner's feelings and thoughts and in this way gives rein to motivation which leads to behaviour that is productive and responsive to change and therefore 'adaptive'.  ('adaptability'). Human adaptability depends on development of 'creative intelligence'.

 

The function of the teacher is to concentrate on creating a classroom climate which facilitates self-initiated learning or the 'freedom to learn'. As the freedom to learn, self-initiated learning depends not only on appropriate material conditions but also on appropriate teacher attitudes or 'attributes'.

 

 

 With their confident view and profound trust the effective teacher functions as a facilitator of learning.

 

 The facilitative teacher is realistic about learner capabilities and potentialities  

 

The facilitative teacher is a mature person with integrity as well as knowledge. They naturally command respect and admiration without imposing themselves or their knowledge and by expressing a personal understanding of their subject and its relationship to other areas of life experiences... focuses on the creation  of a climate which facilitates learning... is aware of the importance of the learner's recognition of their own achievement... takes into account the effect on motivation of previous learning experiences and builds on the foundations which have already been established... engages the students in active involvement, stimulates their natural interest and enhances their intrinsic motivation by pitching assigned tasks at the right level and setting standards which are realistic in terms of the students' capabilities and potentialities.... provides the necessary environmental conditions in a so-called 'progressive' educational setting.

 

An effective teacher establishes good rapport with the students in a person-centred setting... is real about themselves... genuine, sincere, sensitive and sympathetic, authentic, humble, patient and determined... shows the same interest in all students responding equally to their learning needs; treats them fairly and makes it clear what is expected of them; ensures the maximum learning conditions by nspiring confidence and encouraging active participation; judges them with accuracy, then makes correct assessments of their progress... motivating them by communicating enthusiasm.

 

 Learners are confronted with meaningful and relevant real life problems and then allowed the freedom and responsibility to engage in self-initiated learning.

 

The facilitative teacher is a guide to resources  As a facilitator the effective teacher is technically adept and knows how to select materials in relevant contexts and of interest to the students; knows how to adapt and supplement course materials and lessons with the right degree of challenge for effective motivation. The teacher is a resource and a guide to sources and knows how to provide resources and raw materials... a guide to channels and human resources which are relevant to learners' needs and knows how to organize opportunities and to instruct in the techniques of inquiry and rational thought. The teacher is a catalyst for promoting the reactions of growth through learning and teaches  how knowledge can be sought in order to form and modify goals and ideas. The teacher represents the  encounter between human capabilities and increasing knowledge. The degree to which the teacher is used is up to the student. 

 

 

Implications for education and teacher training... Art of teaching is inspiring children's interest with open-ended opportunities which allow for continuity of investigation and allow them to formulate their own questions. If their interests are captured at an early age, children learn to make accurate value judgements. They develop a caring and protective attitude toward their surroundings. They develop sensitivity to the forms and patterns of nature. The excitement and inspiration lasts a lifetime if captured early enough. 

 

In addition to their knowledge and skill, teachers' personalities and social qualities are exceptionally important. In a Personal development involves liberation from all subtle conditioning in their own education which could have deformed their natural 'humanitarian impulse' thus enabling them to have the attributes of the facilitative teacher - 'personality congruence', 'unconditional positive regard' and  'empathic understanding'.

 

The training of teachers must include the development of their personal growth i.e. ‘personal development’. Education for personal development is 'holistic education'

 

 

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References: Carl Rogers Freedom To Learn  Columbus, Ohio: Charles Merrill Publishing Co.,1969

 

"Unfortunately in this era of malice and greed, teaching requires a moral courage that is tragically unfashionable and widely ridiculed." (John Gatto)

 

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                 Teacher as Facilitator of Learning: Teacher Attitudes, Attitudinal Qualities or 'Attributes'

 

 

 

    In the traditional teaching paradigm, the aim of education is envisioned in terms of transferring and distributing finite and unchanging instruction or knowledge perceived as an ingredient which the teacher possesses and which the  student must possess in order to be able to control their own future. The teacher functions as the source and transmitter of this finite knowledge and there is no regard for the learner’s inner life nor for their needs which must be fulfilled for personality growth... personal growth and development. The disregard for human needs is based on the view that human nature cannot be trusted but must be guided, instructed, rewarded, punished and controlled by those whose status is higher and who are therefore supposed to be wiser.

 

      Ignoring the inner life hampers the brain’s development of rational thought or 'reason' which is the basis for human knowledge acquired through reason which is ever-changing. The elusive quality of changing-ness makes it impossible to possess knowledge which in fact is a function of mature development or 'self-actualisation'. The process of self-actualisation involves knowledge of one’s true nature, one’s real self. So-called ‘self-knowledge’ is based on the recognition and respect for one’s developmental needs for growth or  ‘human needs’. Human needs must be recognised and respected in order for proper development to take place. It is the respect for human needs which is foundational to education which involves the provision of conditions required for complete human growth and development. conditions of the necessary growth-promoting climate includes positive teacher attitudes or 'attributes'. Effective teacher attributes include positive self-concept or 'personality congruence', fundamental trust of the other or 'unconditional positive regard' and understanding of the other's situation...  non-possessive caring or ‘empathic understanding'. The perception of teacher attributes is both conscious and subconscious. They are important to learning because they activate the natural functions of the brain which are instrumental in the process of psychological growth and development.

 

   Personality congruence is a function of the matching of awareness and expression which results in a positive self-concept and authenticity. The congruent person is a vital person who is aware of their own feelings -anger, frustration, sympathy, enthusiasm so on- and discloses them openly . They are able to share them without imposing them on others as projections disguised as opinions and judgments. Authentic about themselves and authentic in their relationships with others, they help them to be the same.

 

   Personality congruence is based on unconditional positive regard of others which is in turn derived from a profound trust in the nature of the human personality or 'human nature'.  Human nature is essentially trustworthy and each individual is capable of evaluating their own situation and making constructive efforts to develop their own potentiality. The child is a behaving and reactive organism which is instinctively able to develop into a purposeful adult. The educational process is a means for the natural development of personality and individuality i.e. self-realisation or ‘self-actualisation’. Self-actualisation includes both emotional and intellectual maturation of the adult personality with the characteristics of self-determination, self-respect and self-discipline. The responsibility of the educator is to facilitate the kind of learning which will empower the individual to live productively in a social context and then to free them as an intelligent being, able to utilise their talents in resolving life's problems. The child is allowed to enjoy learning for its own sake in a context of creation from his own powers of imagination and natural curiosity in the world around him. Awakening and broadening their interest is the natural starting point of their education. In the context of the learning situation, the teacher cares without being possessive, prizes the learner's feelings and thoughts thus giving rein to habits which are productive and adaptive, thereby cultivating their creative intelligence.   

 

    Empathic understanding is non-possessive caring –empathy- for the other person's inner world and inner life. The empathetic person is sensitive to the feelings of others, responds to their ideas and opinions, and assists them in understanding their own world and their behaviour in it. They reduce the power which others have had in inculcating guilt and fear and help others to increase their sense of personal power to control their own lives. In any learning situation, the educator is aware of the learning process from the learner’s point of view and acknowledges their thoughts and feelings. The empathetic teacher conveys a genuine interest in enhancing the learner’s intrinsic motives for learning i.e. ‘intrinsic motivation’…  values each learner in terms of their own potentialities, accepts their feelings of both fear for new problems and of satisfaction with new achievements. The learner learns the satisfaction of responsible freedom through their own hard work, frustration and perseverance. In their efforts to reach their own goals, they gain in personal psychological maturity. They discover what it means to be autonomous, spontaneous, creative, and self-disciplined. They learn the values of mutual respect, cooperation, companionship and friendship which contribute to safety and security and which reduce the threat which inhibits real learning. In this atmosphere of mutual respect perceptions become realistic enhancing the freedom to learn... freedom. Everyone is both learner and teacher. While the teacher teaches the learners, they teach each other and they also teach the teacher. Teaching becomes a community project and real learning takes place.

   

Effective teaching and real learning take place when the attitudes are positive at all times, whatever the methods and at whatever age or learning level. When parents and teachers have a basic trust in the individual’s capacity to develop their own potentiality then they are able to facilitate the learner’s  capacity for self-direction and self-motivation in their desire for productive activity or ‘work’. With their confident view and profound trust the effective teacher functions as a facilitator of learning.

    

The facilitation of learning is a function of the teacher's personality. A facilitative teacher establishes good rapport with learners in a person-centred setting... is genuine, sincere, sensitive, sympathetic, authentic, humble, patient and determined... shows the same interest in all learners and responds equally to their learning needs… treats them fairly and makes it clear what is expected of them… ensures the maximum learning conditions by inspiring confidence and encouraging active participation… judges them with accuracy, then makes correct assessments of their progress... motivates them by communicating enthusiasm.

 

    The facilitative teacher is a mature person with integrity as well as knowledge who focuses on the creation of a climate which facilitates learning. Without imposing himself or his knowledge, the teacher naturally commands respect and admiration by expressing a personal understanding of the subject and its relationship to other subjects and life experiences. The facilitative teacher in the role of facilitator of learning is aware of the importance of the student's recognition of his own achievement... takes into account the effect on motivation of previous learning experiences and builds on the foundations which have already been established... engages the students in active involvement, stimulating their natural interest and enhancing their intrinsic motivation. Assigned tasks are pitched at the right level and set at standards which are realistic in terms of the students' capabilities and potentialities. The function of the teacher is to concentrate on creating a classroom climate to facilitate self-initiated learning, the freedom to learn. Provide the necessary environmental conditions in a so-called 'progressive' educational setting in which students are confronted with meaningful and relevant real life problems and then allowed the freedom and responsibility to engage in self-initiated learning. The effective teacher is technically adept and knows how to select materials in relevant contexts and of interest to the students; knows how to adapt and supplement course materials and lessons with the right degree of challenge for effective motivation. The teacher is a resource and a guide to sources and knows how to provide resources and raw materials... a guide to channels and human resources which are relevant to students’ needs and knows how to organize opportunities and to instruct in the techniques of inquiry and rational thought… a catalyst which promotes the reactions of growth through learning… teaches how knowledge can be sought in order to form and modify goals and ideas. The teacher as resource and guide represents the encounter between human capabilities and increasing knowledge. The degree to which the teacher is used is up to the student.  

  

Implications for the Training of Teachers  In addition to their knowledge and skill, teachers' personalities and social qualities are exceptionally important. The training of teachers must include the development of their personal growth i.e. ‘personal development’. Personal development involves liberation from all subtle conditioning in their own education which could have deformed their natural humanitarian impulse thus enabling them to have the attributes of the facilitative teacher - personality congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding.

 

notes..

 'Significant or 'experiential' learning: the whole person in both his feeling and cognitive aspects is in the learning event. (5) Learning of personal involvement is self-initiated, is pervasive, is evaluated by the learner and has meaning as its essence. "When is one free from tests or other types of institutional press?..... only when one submits oneself to them and rises above them." (41) "Changingness, a reliance on process rather than upon static knowledge, is the only thing that makes sense as a goal for education in the modern world."(104) The facilitation oflearning is the aim of education." (105) "The facilitation of significant learning rests upon certain attitudinal qualities which exist in the personal relationship between the facilitator and the learner."(106)

... If it does not fit with the already existing prosters, then the information is challenged or abandoned unless there is access to further information through a process of questioning or research. Productive learning involves meaningful discussion and feedback between teacher and students;