Sunday, August 30, 2009

Teacher, Facilitator, Moderator

I have researched these three roles in education and decided to collate a list of tasks for each role.

A Teacher:

  • Imparts knowledge or a skill though instruction
  • Educates others
  • Teaches to a curriculum or lesson plan
  • Work under a code of ethics
  • Tells, feeds, lectures, disseminates
  • Gives lessons in a subject
  • A teacher is focused on themselves and their ability to impart knowledge
  • The traditional teacher approach leaves little room for inquiry based learning

A Facilitator:

  • Guides the process of learning new information
  • Leadership - Manages the process of information exchange
  • Supports HOW the discussion or knowledge exchange is proceeding
  • Addresses the journey rather than the destination
  • Uses time and space intentionally
  • Encourages participation and creativity
  • Is objective at all times
  • reads underlying group dynamics
  • adapts to a changing situation
  • maintains personal integrity

Characteristics of a facilitator:

  • ask rather than tell
  • initiates conversation rather than waiting for someone else to
  • Listens without interruption
  • Task orientated
  • Asks for others opinions rather than giving own
  • negotiates - doe not dictate decision making
  • shows self confidence
  • Enthusiastic
  • More outgoing than serious
  • A coach not a scientist
  • Curious about people, things and life in general
  • Can keep the big picture in mind while working on the details

A Moderator: (this role confuses me a little)

  • Keep respondents on target - make sure things are the way they should be
  • move through the discussion outline effectively
  • seek the answers to specific questions
  • Believes the group has valuable wisdom, experience or background
  • Use various techniques to get the richest data possible e.g. story telling, collage building, visualisation.
  • Has a good understanding about the groups objectives
  • explains ground rules, introduces speakers
  • screens questions as they arise and selects questions to which speakers will respond
  • improves flow of chat
  • A guide on the side
I look at the above lists and realise that in my current tutor role, I have to be all of these at some time through a learning session. They are linked. You need to understand what role you are in at that time to be sure to get the outcome you want. When I was training to be a teacher, I was taught that I facilitated learning. I work with unit standards and as a moderator in New Zealand, you check assessment validity and fairness. This is different the above moderator role. I see a facilitator supporting a group to understand their common objectives and assisting them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the discussion. I liked the definition of, ''supporting everyone to do their best thinking' (wikipedia) I see a facilitator as a catalyst to leaning.


  1. Hi Kylee,
    Completly agree with you. An educator would wear a different hat at different time.


  2. Kylee
    I have come to understand the role of a moderator in a discussion group as a kind of autditor and quality control person- I have been talking to one of our Occupational Therapy staff around the importance of quite strict moderation in some of the open discussion forums for folk with a health issue that challenges their living.

  3. Thanks for your difinitions do these definitions differ in other online environments than education..or do they?

  4. There's some interesting conversation going on about teaching and facilitation on my blog at the moment:

  5. I agtree with u totally with u regarding ur opinion about the role of teacher as a facilitator in students life.