FabLab and Its Learning Dynamic (Part 4/5) – Teacher’s role (continue)

Well balance of affection and learning. Lave and Wenger (1991) state that the importance of the “relationship of masters to apprentices” is more important than the content of teaching itself. Sometimes the teacher can go too far in terms of building a positive relationship and trying to be likable to all the students. Cavallo suggests that the “demagogical and charismatic educator” it can be harmful to the sense of autonomy of students because the “educator” is so “likable” that they rely on being taught by the “charismatic educator”, and trust themselves less.

It is a sensitive and complex task for the teacher to be aware of the “right amount” of relationship with the students that is “good enough” to create trust and comfort for learning but is not so overwhelming as to create reliance on the teacher.

Invisible power. In terms of “power”, Lave and Wenger (1991) state that the apprentice (student) could perceive the master (teacher) as “too distant” and find it risky to make mistakes when they try to do things for the first time. As a teacher or facilitator, we would like to create a safe space for the students or learners as they try things out for themselves. Sometimes, by keeping “distance” from the students in order to give them time to go through problems by themselves, we strengthen their “trust” in the fact that they are capable  of solving problems by themselves and can be independent of the teacher’s advice and “control.” However, if the space created is “too distant” and the tasks are too complicated , students can feel “too frustrated” and give up on learning.

Ms.Chau and the other two teachers walked around the class frequently to check in with each group or individual students to make sure that everyone was on track and at a good pace. Some students called out the teacher’s name all the time and we could hear “Ms.Chau”  being called very often while some students were so quiet, but they actually were stuck in the problem for a long time. To be aware of this “space” and “distance” is also a crucial practice of teachers in FabLab.

End of part 4 of 5