Why I am not an instructor

I have to admit it, I have a problem with the word “instructor”. It comes from the verb “to instruct” and the dictionary definition that I picked up was:

in·struct (in strukt)

transitive verb

  1. to communicate knowledge to; teach; educate
  2. to give facts or information to on a particular matter; inform or guide: the judge instructs the jury
  3. to order or direct: to instruct a sentry to shoot

Origin: ME instructen < L instructus, pp. of instruere, to pile upon, put in order, erect < in-, in, upon + struere, to pile up, arrange, build:

The origins of the word interest me…. to pile upon, put in order…. this denotes an action to someone as in I know and you will understand if I tell you.

This goes against the ideas that many of us have come to stand for..that we are learners and that we all learn together. I am not here to fill you full of the knowledge that I have but to work with you , to guide and question so that you will own your own knowledge. Indeed, there will be times when you will become my instructor, as in the time that you tell me how to get a program running on my computer or how I can refresh a screen or minimise a program or have multiscreens.

So I am not an instructor I am a learner.. I love the term “lead learner” because it denotes that I may try and lead the student because I have a certain amount of knowledge that may be of help in developing his learning. I will not stand in front of him and instruct him because he is an empty vessel that needs to be filled.

We are a learning community.. there are no instructors here!

About malbell

I am a retired Teaching and Learning Consultant. Previously I was a Primary school headteacher and deputy headteacher. I enjoy reading, doing MOOCs and learning new things.
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