As classrooms (or what we call as classroom) change so also the instructor.
Teaching was a revered profession couple of decades ago. The ones who were academically sound and outstanding took to teaching. They had a love for the subject and teaching became the vocation beyond earning a decent livelihood. We had seen that change. (It is often said those who could’nt (succeed) teach.
In the 80s, the story that used to go around in our school about our eminent (and cranky) physics teacher was that he refused to comply with his seniors at the famous Bhabha Atomic Research centre as a researcher. He quit and decided to pursue his career as a teacher. We were fortunate to have had him in our school. A man full of eccentricities, physically and also in terms of his diction, he served as a typical candidate for mimicking for amusement. I vividly remember how he used to explain the concept of ‘reference’ by dramatically raising the duster in his hand twice in succession to say his claim of having raised the duster to the same location can only be disputed if you had measurement reference from a permanent object, say, a fan, ceiling etc. The class would giggle quietly on his lunatic action with least regard for the message he was intending.
A good instructor was someone who was loud, humorous, dramatic, spontaneous, attention grabbing, and extract fairly sustained attention. When you had the privilege of attending sessions in college you chose those that had an engaging instructor. I attended one recently and was enamored by a professor who despite his frailty of age, roamed around in the class to stimulate dialogue and responses from students. In such cases, lecture sessions are nothing sort of performance. Very evolved lecturers of yesterday performed in class to get students fall in love with the subject. Uninteresting lessons become interesting depending upon who teaches them.
The instructors of the new world will be vastly different. The demand on their skill sets are changing.
The new instructor is the one who will be a brand for the subject he/she professes for audience globally. He divides his content/ information part from his reach and facilitator part. He is available in social platforms to interact with students which are not in 10s or 100s, but in 1000s or 10000s. The checklist for the changing instructor will go something like this…
- Upload lecture videos in youtube
- Answer doubts through Facebook
- Post an absorbing comment in Twitter
- Run a blog to excite opinion and interest
- Become an individual brand
- Author and publish an insightful book
- Have a swelling student following…
Unfortunately, we do not have a mechanism to train and develop such instructors for tomorrow.