Facilitating a lesson means making it easier (Webster 1984, as cited in de Janasz 2001). However, this does not mean that teachers should water-down the curriculum or lower the standards

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Task 1: Facilitating a lesson means making it easier (Webster 1984, as cited in de Janasz 2001). However, this does not mean that teachers should water-down the curriculum or lower the standards. Instead, they should facilitate a lesson by teaching students to think critically and to understand how the learning process works (Kelly 2020). This is because our students should question the world around them, and go beyond the basic facts. There are various ways how we can do this. Some examples include:
- Not answering those questions that students are able to answer themselves, and instead, we boomerang the question back to the group (de Janasz 2001). For example, if a student asks “What shape is this?”, the teacher can say: “Who can answer that question?”
- Making lessons relevant to the real world to help students make connections. Opportunities to apply what they have learnt to real-life situations should, therefore, be given.
- Using fewer words and instead encouraging students to explain further (de Janasz 2001).
- Children learn by doing and not just by listening. Modelling is therefore essential. To model effectively, the teacher should first do while involving students in the process, and then progressing to the teacher doing less and the students doing most of the work (Lea 2013). I like to do this with my young students. For example, when working out Maths problems, I first start by modelling while asking them to think-aloud with me, and then gradually move on through some examples until they are able to work them out on their own.
- Giving students opportunities to self-assess (de Janasz 2001) and self-regulate.
- Focusing on our students’ learning processes rather than on the content (de Janasz 2001; Williams 2017).
- Paying attention and being sensitive to non-verbal communications (de Janasz 2001). As Rogers and Kirschenbaum (1989) claim, ultimately, it is the quality of the personal relationship between the teacher and the student that aids facilitation.

Facilitation also comes with several challenges. In my opinion, one of the main challenges of facilitation is making sure that every voice has been heard. An effective way of overcoming this challenge might be through the use of the “round robin” method, where a teacher ensures that no member is skipped by asking students to share their answers/thoughts/opinions in a clockwise direction. Another challenge is managing group dynamics and aligning students in a very diverse group. Apart from the teacher requiring to know and understand the culture of students in his/her classroom, I believe that a teacher should also foster cross-cultural understanding among students. The lack of engagement or participation, maintaining interest and enthusiasm among all students, and problem persons (such as “silent” students, students who talk about things not related to the topic, etc.) are other challenges that facilitation offers.

Task 2: After watching the video, a quote from a TV series I used to watch – Glee – came to my mind: “The best teachers don’t give you the answers. They just point the way and let you make your own choices, your own mistakes.” Humanistic learning revolves around the learner being the source of authority. Consequently, the goal of humanistic learning is to develop self-actualised students who can take responsibility for their own learning by creating their own realistic goals, and who can decide the best way to achieve these goals. It is only at this level of Maslow’s self-actualisation that students can truly experience growth (Hare 2019). Humanistic educators take the role of facilitator to assist student’s learning by discussing with students which tools they can use to facilitate their learning. As a result, the teacher must be aware of the students’ unique needs so that each student is supported.

Task 3: First described by Paulo Freire and developed by Henry Giroux, Critical Pedagogy promotes an open mind and curious learning, and tries to examine the effects of educational settings on the learner. In Critical Pedagogy, the relationship between the student and the teacher is dialogical, meaning that both persons have something to contribute and receive. Hence, “students learn from the teachers; teachers learn from the students” (Darder et al. 2003, p.15). I can truly relate to this, as I feel that even my young students manage to teach me something! In this regard, teachers should be mindful that students have life experiences of their own, and therefore their own knowledge is significant in shaping their education and learning.

Through the use of Critical Pedagogy, teachers give students a voice and encourage them to express their views on any topic. Using Critical Pedagogy also gives students opportunities to think critically, by inviting them to evaluate and reflect on their own understanding and knowledge about the information being presented to them.

In my opinion, the following quote by Wink (2005) recaps Critical Pedagogy well: “Critical pedagogy challenges our long-held assumptions and leads us to ask new questions, and the questions we ask will determine the answers we get. Critical pedagogy gives voice to the voice-less; gives power to the powerless. Change is often difficult, and critical pedagogy is all about change from coercive to collaborative; from transmission to transformative; from inert to catalytic; from passive to active. Critical pedagogy leads us to advocacy and activism on behalf of those who are the most vulnerable in classrooms and in society” (p.165).

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