Interesting enough I have had a few discussions around this over the last few months. I am already seeing the ways I can facilitate learning in my class. Roles of the learner and the teacher are changing.
learning & teaching —
a New Zealand perspective
Report to the Ministry of Education
R Bolstad & J Gilbert
with S McDowall, A Bull, S Boyd & R Hipkins
Theme 4: “Changing the script”: Rethinking learners’ and teachers’ roles
Twenty-first century ideas about knowledge and learning demand shifts in the traditional roles or “scripts” followed by
learners and teachers. If the purpose of schools is not to transmit knowledge, then teachers’ roles must be reconceived.
Similarly, if the learner’s main job is no longer to absorb and store up knowledge to use in the future, then learners’
roles and responsibilities also need to be reconceived. This calls for a greater focus on recognising and working with
learners’ strengths, and thinking about what role teachers can play in supporting the development of every learner’s
Ministry of Education (2007b)
Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching — a New Zealand perspective 5
The idea of changing the scripts for learners and teachers is often shorthanded with phrases such as “student-centred
pedagogies” or “student voice”, alluding to the need to engage learners (and their interests, experiences and knowledge)
in many decisions about their learning. However, the idea of sharing power with learners can be met with resistance,
particularly if this is interpreted as an “anything goes” approach in which learners are given complete freedom to set the
direction for their learning. The challenge is to move past seeing learning in terms of being “student-centred” or
“teacher-driven”, and instead to think about how learners and teachers would work together in a “knowledge-building”
learning environment. This is not about teachers ceding all the power and responsibility to students, or students and
teachers being “equal” as learners. Rather, it is about structuring roles and relationships in ways that draw on the
strengths and knowledge of each in order to best support learning.