Respect is earned, not given

by John Chua
(Singapore)

Hi Pamela

I just want to share what I had learnt as an educator in a local polytechnic, and hope it will useful.

I was a facilitator in Republic Polytechnic, where we were not called lecturers but facilitators, as we facilitate. It was not the norm in Singapore, and many of my fellow peers had trouble, trying to be a facilitator.

Facilitation firstly isn't top down, one way street. It is a dual carriageway where faci (in short) shares some pointers, and master the art of listening and gathering response from the students. From the responses, a faci will need to bring it down deeper and draw the student towards the point of learning for each lesson.

In order to do that, I feel that respect is a key ingredient. We need to first respect our students for who they are, not looking down on them as if we are of superior knowledge. The top down approach quenches the respect and thus respect is not given back reciprocally.

From my experience at RP, I have personally learnt some interesting pointers from the students during their presentation.

A student without respect for the teacher, will not be able to learn well from the teacher, even if what the teacher is sharing is of great value.

Once you have earned the respect of the students, they would listen more intently to you, thus enhancing their learning.

There is a fine line that educators need to tow, but knowing how to tow this line well goes a long way in the journey of educating the next generation.

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