Devereux Education

English Language Consultancy

`Tutor` vis-à-vis `Facilitator`

A discussion about the differences in the meanings of these two words, and in particular of the latter example of educational jargon, is very interesting actually. The `Communicative Methodology` of language teaching which has become both popular and prevalent in the UK during the last thirty years, though useful, has its problems. At worst, the teacher/tutor may see his or her role as being nothing more than to facilitate self-learning. Thus, it follows that the facilitator simply sets the learning tasks and allows the students or clients to work on their own with the facilitator`s focus being on individualised learning.

Devereux Education and its associate schools, the Liverpool Online Language School, the Preston Language School and the Southport Language School do not agree with such a `laissez-faire` model of learning. In the educational process, it seems obvious that the teacher/tutor has to be a `model` to the students and clients; a model in the sense that the teacher/tutor has professional knowledge, expertise and experience. These professional skills imply that at the beginning of each learning session, the tutor imparts knowledge and allows for a questioning time by the students/clients in order to deal with any misunderstanding or confusion. Following this, one would hope that differentiated learning tasks would be described, explained and then set.

A more important principle in this discussion of educational terminology is that of the `Independent Learner`. This latest example of educational jargon is actually really important and here I quote a well-known phrase; namely, `All good teachers do themselves out of a job!` Whereas badly organised, communicative methodological teaching may just lead to a `free-for-all` in the classroom and the `teacher-as-model` methodology may be nothing more than old-fashioned and boring `Chalk & Talk`, helping your student or client to become an independent learner is a goal worth working hard for.

I find this to be the case all with all of my clients who have just entered the advanced-level/C1 and C2/IELTS 7 and 8 stages of language learning. These individuals stand atop the mountain of learning, are able to see the summit nearby and are able to enjoy the views of the `valleys` below; valleys through which they have travelled via their hard work guided by the tutor as both a model and facilitator.

I think that it is at these levels of learning that the teacher/tutor has to make very important decisions. Firstly, the client must be allowed to take a more active part in planning the future learning session content. Secondly, the teacher/ tutor should allow the students/clients to solve their own language problems where this is time-efficient; the idea being that they will remember more from what they have worked out for themselves as opposed to what they have been told.

Accordingly, if you want to be involved in a `serious` educational course which has at its core the above positive features and positive outcomes for your chosen career, then please do not hesitate to contact me via the various website contact points.

 

Chris Devereux,

Director, Devereux Education.

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