Monday, June 08, 2015

Are YOU a Helicopter Professor/Teacher?



What do you do when you decide to move from "Sage on the Stage" to "Guide on the Side?"  Typically, you spend a GREAT deal of time setting things up so that you can create a learning environment where students learn by researching and doing new ideas instead of listening to you telling them these ideas.

A part of being a Guide on the Side is that you may feel like a 3rd wheel while you watch your students work together in class.  It's ironic that the best way for your students to learn can be to learn on their own with you "out of the loop."  You may not be directly involved in their learning experience, but you are guiding them through the learning process. You are taking a different role in the classroom.

This is an example of Teacher Lead - Student Driven

I just read an article in Faculty Focus where Berlin Fang is suggesting ideas that will provide your students with the "proper balance of challenge and support."  

Six Suggestions on How to Avoid being a Helicopter Professor

  1. Allow Chaos
  2. Embrace Desirable Difficulty
  3. Increase Accountability
  4. Reduce Redundancy
  5. Remove Crutches
  6. Mix Push and Pull
Dr. Fang introduces some interesting concepts in these 6 suggestions. He discusses Free-Range Assignments that are individualized competency-based challenges. He suggests that we should help students but don't teach helplessness. This sense of self-efficacy is accomplished by starting with scaffolds to support new learners, but methodically removing them so that students can learn to stand on their own.

What do YOU think?  Did that article hit the button with you or are you still a Helicopter Educator?


Photo: Mark Ludy

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