Why do teachers need to be humanists, competent, and creative?

Why do teachers need to be humanists, competent, and creative?

Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher, once said, “Education will not change the world, it will change the people who are going to change the world.”  Sometimes teachers forget how powerful their words and actions can be for students.  The Dwyer Family Foundation has covered just how impactful a teacher’s words can be in the past.  Education cannot transform the ones who are going to change the world without the utmost commitment from educators.  Educators have to accept this commitment seriously and with valor.  It’s easy for students to think they can do everything on their own.  They are so wrong and misguided.  Even someone who is self-taught needed someone to guide them along the learning experience.  Every student needs guidance.  Every single one of them needs a teacher to get them through difficult times and bums in the road.  However, this responsibility cannot be taken lightly by teachers.  Top notch educators need to have a certain set of skills and abilities to empower their charges with the utopian task of changing the world with arguments and the power of the mind.  Let’s divide these traits into three categories:  being, knowing, and doing.

Being: who you are matters

Teachers need to have specific personality traits in order to educate future generations so that they can change the world.  First of all, educators must be humanists.  Humanism teaches us that man is at the center of making the world a better place.  Deities and spiritual being take a back seat, it’s up to humans to solve problems by being critical and rational.  Therefore, educators must have this quality and pass it on to their charges so that they can learn how to understand, respect, and value other cultures and ways of thinking.  Additionally, educators must understand that differences are good, they can be taken as an opportunity to learn more.

Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann at Pexels.com
Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann at Pexels.com

Knowing: you must be competent if you want to teach a man to fish.

There’s an old and quite famous saying which states, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and feed him for life.”  This basically sums up the difference between knowing how to do something (being trained) and knowing how to put knowledge to use (being competent).  It is an educator’s job to make sure students are competent and not simply trained.  They must not only give their charges all the tools and knowledge, but also the competence to use them.  Students often don’t see the logic or the reason behind a subject.  The will often times consider a subject completely useless.  Educator need to earn their pay by demonstrating to students how what they learn in school will help them in life.  In order to do this, teachers must also have gone through a process which made them competent in pedagogy and teaching methods.  Having a tool is only good if you know how to use it and have the confidence to do so.

Doing: creativity is the key that opens the door to student potential.

Howard Gardner’s theory on multiple intelligences was a breakthrough in education.  It gave teachers a much needed tool to understand why some students had more difficulty learning than others and why some learn better through different methodologies.  While this was great for children, it presented a challenge for educators: how to teach the same thing in different ways to account for multiple intelligences.  This is where creativity comes in.  Let’s not simplify and demean creativity by saying it’s different activities aimed at multiple intelligences.  Creativity is much more than that.  It’s the ability that teachers have to use the resources available to them and adapt the class to suit their different learning strengths without neglecting anyone.  This does not mean creating a lesson plan for every single student, that would be impossible with how short classes are.  Being creative means trying to play to multiple intelligence’s strengths.  It appropriate to remember that Gardner’s multiple intelligences are present in all of us with one of them being dominant.  This means that teachers can work on different intelligences in class and thus not leaving anyone behind.

Teaching in today’s world does not carry the same respect it once did.  Teachers are actually expected to do much more than they once did or than their profession demanded.  Nowadays teachers must help students become better humans while giving them the tools and knowhow to face the world.  And if that wasn’t enough, educators must try as much as possible to make students feel they are all part of something special and not play favorites.  Those three qualities are the pillars of great teachers in our present time.  Without them, there is little possibility that educators can reach their students and convincing them that they have the power to change the world with their minds.  

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