TEACHERS AMONG OUR STUDENTS: WHEN LEADERSHIP EMERGES WITHIN THE GROUP
When we think about the roles in classroom we use to distinguish between teachers and students. Historically the main responsibility of the learning process has fallen on the teachers while the students have simply followed the instructions of their teachers to achieve the acquisition of meaningful learning. However, in recent years we have seen how the role of these teachers has changed from being instructors to be new guides in the acquisition of knowledge.
This change of role was a result of the rapid development of the information technology and communication applied to the field of education. In this new scenario, teachers provide relevant information that is useful for the student but the protagonist of the learning process is the student by itself. However, even if the role of the elements of the classroom has changed, we see that the organizational structure of the classroom remains the same way; there are still two figures, the teacher and student.
On the other hand, in the new role acquired by the teacher, leadership is considered as an essential element of this new educational scenario. The teacher no longer runs but shares his knowledge. The student no longer is a passive learner but also shares his knowledge. That is the main reason of a new key fact with an intangible value that is exploited in this new model; the student's interest. A student will study what it is interesting for himself, or at least focus his learning through those contents with which he feels most identified. This is a very important fact because learning is most effective when it is interesting to the learner. In other words, by applying this new way of learning the educational achievements are improved because the students learn more easily just because they are enjoying what they are learning. Furthermore, this new learning dynamic requires the teacher versatility. That is, a person can be an extraordinary teacher, but he usually needs time to adapt their teaching style to the group features; meet the group, their interests, learning speed, pace, empathy. However, all these factors do not guarantee the success of teacher-student integration.
Regarding to the topic of student interest, it is difficult to obtain a global map of the interests of students through a questionnaire of initial evaluation. Typically, these students tend to answer questionnaires depending on their own profile. In our case, we have worked with elderly. These people digital’s culture is very low and they had serious difficulties to answer the initial questionnaire; they hardly understand the meaning of many tech-words. But what if the solution is part of the problem? What if the teacher is a member of the class?
We present a study conducted over two years. In this paper we have experienced a scenario in which teacher leadership emerges within the group. That is, a person that belongs to the group stands out and leads to the acquisition of knowledge. It dilutes the border between the teacher and the leader during the learning process in the classroom. This demonstrates that leadership in the classroom does not depend on a culturally predetermined figure (the teacher), but an attitude. If this attitude is worked and combined with flair we can create a leader who can guide and lead the learning process among other students based on their own interests.