Teacher, Instructor, Educator, Facilitator

In some of the forum discussions in my 3250 course, we have questioned the differences between the titles of “teacher, instructor, educator, facilitator”.  Do they mean different things?  Do they refer to different types of people?  Are they one and the same?  What sets them apart and what similarities do they have?  Lot of great questions to think about.
I have posted a short video on the definition and roles of a facilitator.


In my work environment, my job title is that of a facilitator.  One of my co-students found the definition below that describes a facilitator.  I strongly identified with this and wanted to pass on. Thanks Nicolette!

One of the most effective approaches in helping students learn is facilitation of learning. Brockett (1983) views an educator of adult’s primary role as one of facilitating learning. He bases this view on the assumption that adults tend to prefer settings in which they have primary responsibility for directing their own learning.  Another advocate of the facilitating approach is Knowles. He believes that adult educators should serve as facilitators of learning rather than content transmitters.
Aker (1976) studied effective facilitators in detail and believed they were individuals who exhibited the following characteristics:
1. Have great empathy–i.e., try to see things as seen by their learners.
2. Consistently use reward, seldom if ever use punishment, and never ridicule.
3. Have a deep sense of their responsibility, enjoy their work, and like people.
4. Feel secure in their own abilities, yet believe that they can do better.
5. Have a profound respect for the dignity and worth of each individual and accept their fellow learners as they are without reservation.
6. Have a keen sense of fairness and objectivity in relating to others.
7. Are willing to accept or try out new things and ideas and avoid drawing premature conclusions.
8. Have high levels of patience.
9. Recognize the uniqueness and strengths of each individual and build upon such strengths.
10. Are sensitive to the needs, fears, problems and goals of their fellow learners.
11. Reflect on their experiences and attempt to analyze them in terms of success and failure.
12. Are humble in regard to their role and avoid the use of power which is assumed by some educators.
13. Do not pretend to have the answers and enjoy learning along with others.
14. Are continuously expanding their range of interest.
15. Are committed to and involved in their own lifelong learning.

Aker, G. F. (1976). The Learning Facilitator.

Brockett, R. (1983). Facilitator roles and skills. Lifelong Learning: The Adult Years, 6(5), 7-9. 


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