Everybody is just a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that is is stupid.
I think this quotation is directly related to the role of the facilitator which could be summarized as “to make something possible or easier”.
It is clear that all of our students have a talent for something, and not necessarily for something related to academic studies. The role of the teacher should be then to make the student discover which his/her talent is and support him/her to achieve goals.
We have to avoid that she/he thinks is “the fish” which cannot climb the tree, and let him/her know that probably she/he can swim really fast after a good training.
This is part of the role of a teacher who facilitates, who is a “guide on the side” and not a “sage on the stage”. We have to encourage students to always do their best, to push themselves, but never ignoring the student’s skills and abilities.
Besides, when evaluating students progress, we have to be aware of the student’s starting point, that is to say, we cannot bear in mind only what the students reached, but also where she/he started from. In this way we have to challenge people whose level is higher so they don’t settle in a “comfort zone”, otherwise, although they reach the objectives, we will see that they have learnt nothing new.
On the other hand we can get surprised by other students who, maybe don’t get the best mark, but comparing what they are able to do at the end with what they could do before, we see that they have learn much more than other students with better marks.
In conclusion, the role of the teacher should go farther than bringing knowledge to the classroom. Teacher should facilitate students to find their talent and fight for it.
By Ana Belén Mínguez.