About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 921-931
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain


A.G. Nyström

Åbo Akademi University (FINLAND)
“From sage on the stage to guide on the side” said Alison King in 1993 and hinted that learning is an active process and should contain more than sitting, listening, making notes and seeking for correct answers. Students are reactive and passive rather than proactive and engaged when they enter the classroom or auditorium. The question becomes how students assume the characteristics of proactive and engaged? Different theories on learning, from behavioral to constructivist, indicate different approaches to the role of the teacher and the role of the student and may as such guide the teacher towards becoming a facilitator. Academic faculty is demanding active students, who assume responsibility of their own learning. However, the means and tricks to support self-oriented and active learning are often lacking in the discussion.

Recently, focus has been laid on the teacher’s role as a facilitator and coach rather than a source of knowledge, from which students draw information (cf. Reeve, 2006; Greensfeld & Elkad-Lehman, 2007). However, assuming the role of facilitator requires adaptation and flexibility from the teacher, not to mention a specific mindset and understanding of learning as a process. As universities are struggling with mass courses and little resources, the question becomes how teachers in academia manage the role transition and change in their pursuit of meaningful learning and preparing for work-life.

The research brings forth five teacher’s stories and road maps from teacher to facilitator of learning. Each teacher has been interviewed according to an interview guide based on theories on role change and transition (cf. Linton, 1936; Biddle and Thomas, 1966) as well as previous research focusing on change processes in the mindset of the teacher. The interviews have been transcribed and coded using the software Nvivo. The coding process aimed at identifying patterns, similarities and dissimilarities between the five respondents. The five respondents each make a case, in which role change from teacher to facilitator of learning is studied. The aim is to bring forward experiences and thoughts on change.

The results are relevant for those leading and working with pedagogical development of teachers at universities. The analysis of the five cases point at processes of role change including aspects of anxiety, feelings of being misunderstood by colleagues and difficulties communicating with students concerning methods and tasks. Taking such aspects into account when designing pedagogical training for the teaching staff and forming goals for educational programs, will allow for a better understanding of the feelings and stages involved in becoming a facilitator of learning.

[1] Biddle, B.J., & Thomas, E.J. (1966): Role theory: Concepts and research, New York: John Wiley.
[2] Greensfeld, Hava & Elkad-Lehman, Ilana (2007): “An analysis of the processes of change in two science teacher educators' thinking” in Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 44, No. 8, pp. 1219-1245.
[3] King, Alison (1993): “From sage on the stage to guide on the side” in College Teaching, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Winter, 1993), pp. 30-35.
[4] Linton, R. (1936): The study of man. City: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc.
[5] Reeve, Johnmarshall (2006): “Teachers as facilitators: what autonomy-supportive teachers do and why their students benefit” in The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 106, No. 3, pp. 225-236.
author = {Nystr{\"{o}}m, A.G.},
series = {8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-8412-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {10-12 March, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {921-931}}
AU - A.G. Nyström
SN - 978-84-616-8412-0/2340-1079
PY - 2014
Y1 - 10-12 March, 2014
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2014 Proceedings
SP - 921
EP - 931
ER -
A.G. Nyström (2014) TEACHERS BECOMING FACILITATORS OF LEARNING, INTED2014 Proceedings, pp. 921-931.