A teacher has two roles. The first role is to teach new material to the student. The second role is to convince the student to make the effort to study and do their home work. In this second sense, the work of a teacher is actually closer to the management effort of a supervisor at a job, rather than what we normally think of as “being a teacher”.
An Educational Manager is a person who ensures that a student stays focused and motivated in their learning process. Teachers divide their classroom efforts between teaching and Educational Management. This article takes a look at the unusual liabilities that can emerge when a student fails to recognize and respond to the important difference between his teacher’s two roles.
Around fourth grade
By the time a student reaches the fourth grade reading level, he is generally able to read (age appropriate) books on his own and learn new material. When a new vocabulary word comes along, the fourth grade student can use a dictionary to learn the meaning of the new word.
Once a student has mastered these basic learning skills of a) reading and b) using a dictionary then, strictly speaking, the teacher no longer needs to personally convey new material to the student. But, for most students, the teacher (acting in the Educational Management role) does still need to convince the student to continue with his learning and studying efforts.
The exception proves the rule
An important exception to the You-Can-Learn-Things-By-Reading-A-Book-Once-You-Get-To-Fourth-Grade principle occurs when a learning task is either too dangerous or too complex to explain in writing. For example, learning how to perform an experiment in a chemistry class obviously requires the physical presence of a teacher.
But it is the exception that proves the rule. The rule is that, for people who can read, the vast majority of learning tasks do not require the presence of a teacher. (At least not a teacher in the sense of someone who personally conveys information to the student.)
An important life change has
occurred – but it usually goes unnoticed
Most elementary school students fail to recognize that this important transition has occurred in the dynamics of their educational process. (In fairness to the students, teachers usually do not emphasize it to their students when this life change happens.)
Students who overlook the meaning of the transition end up in a partially confused state regarding their educational process. The confusion hinges around the lack of clarity between the student’s perception of his need for a teacher (in the teaching role) versus his need for an Educational Manager (in the make-sure-you-get-the-work-done role).
By the way, this explains why so many people only go to school up to the earliest grades – but they still end up becoming successful in life. Such people are usually not geniuses. They may, in fact, have only average learning ability – but they do have the desire to learn. So, by the time they reach fourth grade, they don’t need a teacher or an educational manager.
Welcome to the new educational paradigm
Perhaps there should be a special ceremony to mark the transition to the fourth-grade reading level? The event would celebrate a young person’s first steps into educational adulthood. And it would be a way of making it clear to the student that his teachers are going to be shifting their energies away from the teaching role and towards the Educational Management role.
Unfortunately, that ceremony is not currently part of the process in public schools.
The Continuing Education phase of life
And then one day formal schooling ends. For most people, this is a time of great relief and the exhilaration of freedom. (Mainly because the pesky teacher / Educational Manager is gone.)
And then comes the shock of looking for a job and realizing that you have no marketable skills. Your only skill is laboring. And laboring does not pay very well.
So we are back to school – either formally or on-the-job or self-taught.
For people who have self-discipline, the Continuing Education phase is an exciting and profitable journey that lasts for a life-time. But, for people who lack the self-discipline to stick with long-term self-education goals, Continuing Education usually means a discouraging series of half-completed failures.
Get help and get active
How about you? Do you want to improve your marketable job skills? The fact that you are able to read this article shows that you have already mastered the basic skills of reading and learning.
So, if you want to improve your education, you probably do not need a teacher (in the sense of someone who personally presents new information to you.) But you may very well need an Educational Manager to help you to maintain your focus.
Get Help Get Active offers free Educational Management for those who need it. In fact, it is even better than free. You will get paid cash from the very first day! In any case, you will never pay anything and your participation is completely confidential.
Get help and get active!