Who Needs Teachers?

Thanks to Dave Terron, I’ve just finished reading Why Do I need a Teacher When I’ve Got Google?’ by Ian Gilbert, a book which will make you reflect on everything you thought you knew about learning and teaching. Incidentally, the author provides what I think is a fair attempt to answer the question posed in the title as early in the book as page 22:-

‘The role of the twenty-first century teacher, I am suggesting, is to help young people know where to find the knowledge, to know what to do with it when they get it, to know ‘good’ knowledge from ‘bad’ knowledge, to know how to use it, to add to it even, to know which bits to use and when and how to use them and to remember the key parts of it. Add to that your powerful role in helping them develop their communication skills, their creativity, their curiosity, their ability to work well as a team, their confidence and self-esteem, their sense of what is wrong and what is right, their ability to deal with adversity, their understanding of their role as a citizen of the world – in other words all the things which computers can’t do yet – then you have a powerful role for the twenty-first century teacher. If the end of the twentieth century saw the democratisation of knowledge, then the role of the twenty-first century teacher is quite simple – to preside over the democratisation of learning. That’s why I need a teacher when I’ve got Google and Wikipedia and O2 and an iPhone and an iPad…..’