Architectural Agility Equation #2: The Altitude of the Teacher

In a transformed learning system, we have three agility equations that must be resolved to truly change our education environments from teaching systems to learning systems.

Previously, we discussed the agility equation for classrooms. The first equation addresses the balance of technology and teachers. A transformed learning system acknowledges the presence and power of technology to perform most of the busy tasks to manage viability and sustainability of classrooms. However, the system also acknowledges the position and power of the teacher. Technology does not replace replace teachers. Technology can reposition teachers. So, each school system must first address the classroom agility equation……..the balance between technology and teachers in each classroom.

The second agility equation moves the transformation from the classroom to the educator. Architectural Agility Equation #2 is the balance that the teacher has between engagement and empowerment in the classroom. While the system, district or building administrator addresses the first equation for each classroom, the second equation is something designed solely for the educator in each classroom.

What will be the required engagement the teacher must TAKE in the classroom and what will be the required empowerment the teacher must GIVE in the classroom.

I prefer to think of it as the flight path of the teacher. Each teacher must be wise in the engagement with their learners. There is an altitude for each student.

For some students, the teacher can be much like the satellite for a GPS system. Just monitor the progress of the learner, interject when necessary to give guidance and make sure the best routes are being taken. Often, for those students progressing well, the teacher need only to speak up, disrupt or interrupt the progress if the learner is straying off course. It’s a high altitude flight plan for these learners because they don’t need us as much.

For some students, the altitude is much lower and closer to the learner. Some will need us to be airline pilots. They depend on us to take a much more involved and engaged approach. We may have to assist in setting the plan, help in the progress and even assist in some of the decision-making. Airline pilots have a much different flight path than a satellite.

For others, teachers are going to have to be like a crop-duster flying low over the field. The growth and the health of the field depends on that crop-duster to do his work. Some students need us to stay engaged. We will need to be hands on and we need to be that way on a daily basis. We have to fly at a low altitude for these kids.

The second agility equation is for the teacher. If educators are designers, learning systems are transformed. And it’s not the systemic management of the past. It’s the teacher being agile. So often, teachers determine they have a preferred teaching style. However, in transformed learning systems, agility IS the style. That balance of engagement and empowerment. Raising our engagement to a level determined by the particular learning needs of the student keeps the focus on learning over teaching.