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New insights Concerning the Variety of Roles that Adult Educators Play

on December 10, 2013

As a practitioner in the field of adult education for over 20 years, I have always adored the work and formed my own understanding of the role of an instructor. In my vocabulary, educator is a broad and sacred word in the sense that an educator’s role is not only to impart knowledge and help students with their study problems, but also to instruct, supervise, and even learn and grow together with students. It’s nothing rare nowadays that a professor needs to learn from his or her students how to make his or her teaching presentation more desirable and satisfying. Quite a few times during my lectures I had to ask the students for help when encountering troubles in managing the multimedia devices in the classroom. Sometimes I even would invite a student for a drink after class just to learn some new computer skills to make my lesson presentation more attractive. This would not only get the teacher closer to students but also shows students the importance of lifelong learning and that one can learn from anyone else if you want. Now through rise and development of MOOCs, I gained more and new insights concerning the variety of roles an adult educator can and should play. Besides lesson planning, organizing and lecture delivering, an adult educator also needs to be a skillful and efficient user of new digital and communication technologies so that he/she can manage online courses without difficulty. With the explosion of information and knowledge in the published books and on the internet, the ability to discern and decipher credible resources of information and make use of it has become imperative. This naturally calls for adult educators playing the role of content guide. The educator’s role of mentorship guiding      students in the use of the most effective forums and tools is also very important. Last but not least important of course quality an adult educator needs to have is a profound understanding of human nature and education in a broadest possible sense. The educator needs to realize that the learners are diverse in terms of cultural background, character and personal experience, and they have different needs for learning and different access to materials and expertise, so differentiated instructing methods need to be applied to different learners to support them to maximum success.

Nowadays with new technologies occurring so fast, they will certainly change our way of communicating, getting information, connecting with our friends and colleagues, and change our approaches of learning and instructing. Therefore, adult educators will always need to keep up with the new trends of development and adjust their role as an instructor to make their work most fruitful.

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