The role of lecturers in the digital era
A monk once stood in a medieval courtyard, packed with people clinging to his every word as he recited passages from a manuscript. He spoke, they listened – good disciples. At the time books were rare and expensive to print, the only way to gain knowledge was to listen to the monks, and this is how the concept of a lecture was born.
Mankind’s thirst for knowledge has only grown, with The Economist suggesting that the ROI of a college degree has never been higher for young people – boosting earnings by over 20% in sub-Saharan Africa.
But with Google at our fingertips, what role do our modern-day monks still play?
According to research into student perspectives on teaching qualities by The Student Room, students believe that in-depth knowledge is the most important quality of a university teacher. Out of 500 students surveyed, 77% said that a lecturer should make public their experience and qualifications, as it is a consideration when it comes to picking universities.
Extensive knowledge is so much more than what can be read on Google, it’s a kind of knowledge that has to be experienced. Increasingly, today’s teachers are not only scholars, but practitioners: CEOs, entrepreneurs, and consultants. They haven’t only acquired knowledge, they’ve experience it. They know what it’s like to fail, to win. They’ve been on the roller-coaster of work and life, creating successful strategies, winning campaigns and solving business challenges. And you can’t Google that level of proficiency.
The role of councillor, life-coach and mentor
An educator’s job is no longer to give a lengthy sermon, but to draw students in to a world of self- actualisation and realisation of their aims, aspirations, dreams, goals and hopes.
It’s becoming expected for lecturers to be accessible out of the classroom – as a leader, mentor, role model and coach. One respondent of The Student Room survey said that a good teacher is judged by their level of interaction with students, both inside and outside lectures.
“Going that extra mile for students and being willing to help them outside of hours always impressed me. My favourite lecturers were the ones who engaged with students throughout the lecture rather than simply standing in front of a slide show.”
As our society grows in diversity, a lecturer’s strength lies in their ability to recognise an individual’s unique interest and talents, and tease it out into the world.
Lecturers and professors may be the experts, but in the modern lecture hall it’s all about learning from classmates. A recent study by The Academy of Finland on how technology is changing the teacher’s role, states that teachers are no longer knowledge providers, but facilitators, guiding the students’ learning processes. It’s not about ignoring technology, but bringing it in to the discussion and engaging in joint problem solving with students. Knowledge is like a script with the directors and actors interpreting it in their own style.
This is why classrooms still matter. Lecturers will often stimulate discussion on subject matter and case studies that is not necessarily in the course material. This helps course participants learn the most, while harnessing practical skills they’ll use in the workplace.
Lecturers don’t have to be jugglers or comedians, but according to author, teacher and consultant, Doug Lemov, lecturers are expected to entertain to a certain extent. Students can get information from anywhere, but reading about the 2010 financial crisis on Wikipedia is not the most thought-provoking way to learn about it. It’s not so much about the information, but the way it’s presented.
Lemov published the best-selling book, Teach Like a Champion, in which he says, “Don’t be a content expert; be a luminary. Be influential. Teach students how to think, laugh, share, fail, and succeed. Think about the questions that Google can’t answer and teach those.
At LCIBS our lecturers have a wealth of experience in business management, coaching, training and consultancy. They’re practicing entrepreneurs, international thought-leaders and world-renowned coaches. Our classrooms inspire challenge and debate, analysing and problem-solving and using participants’ own businesses as a testing laboratory. Our executive courses provide unrivalled opportunity to engage with and learn from extraordinary talent.
Author: Brett Kilpatrick