We have libraries where a student can read and learn. Where does teaching come into the picture?

  • Does the teacher advertise to students what the things are they can learn?
  • Does teaching help students to learn what they want to learn?
  • Is just giving some information teaching?
  • Should there be a goal behind why some one is teaching something?

This world is full of information. And a student (Anyone with curiosity) is the one who wants to understand these things. Where is the teacher in this picture?

We can settle with one of the answers, but what exactly is the role of teaching?

Or is this our social construct?

  • 1
    Please don't take this the wrong way, but is this intended to be funny? I genuinely can't quite tell if you're making a joke about learning a language or if you're just asking a question in not-quite-fluent English... Oct 12 at 21:21
  • My English is not good. If you get the idea of what I am asking, could you make it formal? Oct 12 at 21:55
  • Would you like to know or better understand the philosophy of education/teaching; more specifically, the role and purpose of The Teacher?
    – Alex
    Oct 12 at 22:27
  • 1
    Good day. I will not be able to answer number 1 because it confused me but i can answer number 2,3,4 "does teaching help students learn what they want to learn?" This usually depends on the student. If the student feels that the teacher gave them an explanation of whatever they wanted to know then yes. However if not then no. "is just giving some information teaching?" No, Sense information is useless without a way to understand it. Like the information on a cd without a cd player the cd is useless. "should there be a goal behind why someone is teaching something" Yes, This goal should a Oct 13 at 3:19

Lev Vygotsky (a 20th century Russian psychologist) demonstrated an effect he called the Zone of Proximal Development (ZoPD). The idea, in brief, is that 'learning' has three zones:

  • The zone of developed knowledge (my terminology): activities the learner can do without aid or guidance
  • The zone of inaccessible knowledge (my terminology): activities the learner cannot understand or do, even with aid or guidance
  • The ZoPD (Vygotsky's term): activities that the learner cannot do on his own, but can accomplish with aid and guidance

So for instance, high school seniors win developed nations have typically mastered basic mathematics, and can do simple algebraic tasks without assistance. They cannot even begin to understand differential equations or more advanced subjects in math, and no amount of assistance will bring them to an understanding in the short run. However, they can be walked through basic calculus: not really understanding it (initially) but able to follow someone who does understand it and complete tasks as assigned until real understanding sets in and they can do it on their own.

In short, the ZoPD is the zone where learning is possible, and the teacher's role is to guide students through examples until students catch the drift and can begin doing it on their own.

A teacher's role changes with the development of the learner. In the earlier stages (mainly with prepubescent children) the teacher has to establish mastery over certain basic skills that are the building blocks for future learning. As students become more sophisticated, the teacher gradually takes on the role of guiding students into particular strengths and interests. And all the way through, teachers must be modeling new and more sophisticated ways of thinking: how to approach problems, how to choose between various tools, how to focus attention correctly, etc.

  • Given that you once construed advanced mathematics as 'counting', I think it is a little ironic that you are suggesting that math majors in high schools aren't capable of understanding advanced mathematics. They often don't do so because the curriculum is designed for a broad base of students. And of course they do understand if they go on to do more advanced study at universities ... 2 days ago
  • @MoziburUllah: You know, I used to be quite like you: a notable intelligence that's both fueled and clouded by aggressive impulses. In fact, I still fall prey to it sometimes. It's a hazard of the intellectual life... I'm not going to argue with you (because that won't resolve anything), but I will ask you (please) not to draw conflicts across threads. If you want to work out our differences of worldview I suggest we open a chat where we can have a sprawling debate. Otherwise, best to stay on topic. I don't want to have to start flagging your posts. 2 days ago
  • I'm not having conflicts with you 'across threads' as you put it. You post on on several different forums and you're a long-time user as I am. Hence it is not surprising that I see your posts and sometimes comment on them. Please withdraw your allegation that I am stalking you. 4 hours ago
  • If you don't withdraw the allegation then I will flag your comment. 3 hours ago
  • @MoziburUllah: The first line of your original comment refers to a dispute on a different question; that is the definition of drawing a conflict across threads. As to the rest... Your name entered my feed once, maybe twice, in the entire year and a half I've been on SE prior to me commenting on your meta questions a few weeks ago. Since then, I've seen it easily a dozen times, across multiple SE sites. You can run the statistics as easily as I. Doesn't matter whether it's a conscious or unconscious behavior; it's too far into the tail to stick with the null. 3 hours ago

First I must answer your main question.

Does the teacher advertise to students what the things are they can learn?

No. All teachers of all levels don't need to do it.

Does teaching help students to learn what they want to learn?


Is just giving some information teaching?

No. Teaching will not take place without reception.

Should there be a goal behind why some one is teaching something?

Yes. No one does anything without a purpose.

From your question, I understand that you are trying to find the role of teacher or teaching in the present scenario.

Though the word you used here is 'teacher', the apt word for the person who does the purpose you meant is 'educator'. And since he is the person who renders education, he is supposed to be a role-model of good qualities also. The word -- TEACHER is now being used as an umbrella-word. A linguist can easily interpret this word as a mnemonic or acronym and enthrone himself as a great teacher and expound his latest theories on teachers and teachings. But since he also teaches something we call him a teacher. Let us put these things aside.

So the only thing you should find out is, whether the teacher is supposed to be just for teaching/training or for rendering education, and if so what is EDUCATION. But before discussing it let me mention a few things about teachers.

In some contexts, the word -- 'Guru' is used as a substitute for God. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru . A teacher does not have to be 'a person who realized the Truth' like great gurus. But since he is with several good qualities and also he, without pride, upholds the Truth always, his words often appear to the students as a beacon that guides the goal and sometimes like a lightning that makes them alert and to work for the welfare of the society considering nature and their nature. The consequences of the carelessness in teaching/learning/education without giving importance to 'nature' can now be seen in the present world.

Of the three words in this famous quote: "A teacher is a friend, philosopher and guide', the most abused word nowadays is 'friend'. It is through the teacher's attitude/approach/behaviour the student understands that he is someone who is nobler than a friend. And this nobility in character is the force that motivates the student to rise himself to the level of his teacher. And thus the rise of the society also. Eventually the purification process that takes place through the teacher’s experiences helps his real development also.

Since the teacher is the social engineer (or if he is supposed to be the social engineer), like a philosopher he carefully makes use of each and every opportunity (no matter whether it is good or bad) that comes before him and makes it a tool for social development/construction and lives like a candle which burns itself giving light to others. (You should remember that each student, on one hand, is a separate entity but on the other hand, he is a part of the society.)

Learning can occur even without human presence; so is teaching. Anything can teach you something. You might have read this in the Bhagavatam: https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/twenty-four-gurus-from-the-srimad-bhagavatam . Also, I know you have no doubt in the proverb that ‘experience is the best teacher’. So all of this reinforces your notion that the process that happens is 'learning'. Actually, the teacher's role is in teaching-learning process; not only in teaching. And these things force us to examine the definitions of education.

You may verify this: https://www.acs.edu.au/info/education/trends-opinions/what-is-education.aspx

You might have heard this quote of Swami Vivekananda: “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.” These uneditable words can come out only from a great teacher/genius who manifested the perfection already in him. Since what actually happens is unveiling, this quote implies the teacher's role/necessity in learning process. It is through the teacher this manifestation process is rectified. He encourages his students to pursue their goal and sometimes control their ego when it is needed; to prevent the birth of educated/clever devils. This is impossible even for AI, the controller of future generations.

This world is full of information. And a student (Anyone with curiosity) is the one who wants to understand these things. Where is the teacher in this picture?

I have already answered your main question. If you want to see your teacher 'in them', try to verify using this: If you found this function as fulfilled in any of the four options you gave, you can confirm that your teacher is 'there'. If you found him in more than one option, you can confirm that he is there also.

I believe that besides the interference of social reformers such teachings or teachers (as mentioned above) are now the essential thing to solve the unrest and anarchy in many countries.

I believe now you will be ready to fold your four-rib umbrella and look into the sky of reality.


Well, as someone who has over a decade of classroom teaching experience, I believe (and hope), that I can provide you with an answer that is at the very least...satisfactory.

A Teacher, is essentially, a Guide or a Translator of complex information to students of all levels, ranging from the elementary, to the advanced. Additionally, the role of a Teacher is to NEVER indoctrinate or propagandize his or her students; such roles and functions are reserved for Religious Leaders, Social Commentators, Opinion Editorialists and Activists, though such a role and function is NOT for Teachers. Students look to Teachers as skilled Communicators and Translators of abstract topics and ideas. The Teacher is, in a way, a type Mediator who is situated in between the realm of ideas and the reality of a classroom. If the Teacher is unable or unwilling to probe and navigate through the labyrinthine realm of ideas, then his or her role in the classroom is meaningless and useless. However, if the Teacher is unable or unwilling to effectively communicate and translate the realm of abstract ideas to students in a classroom or lecture hall, then his or her role is equally meaningless and useless.

It is also very important for Teachers to convey a congenial and approachable disposition. To put it plainly, students-(of all levels), need to understand what it is you are talking about and should also feel comfortable within a classroom setting. If the Teacher is ineffective in communicating his or her "expertise" and knowledge of the subject matter and displays an inapproachable and disinterested body language, then it is the fault of the Teacher-(and not necessarily the fault of the student).

Teaching certainly has a dramatic and theatrical element. However, Teaching, is not Acting, nor is it Oratory or Speechmaking The classroom and yes, even the Lecture Hall, is a forum for education and NOT a political podium or a Broadway Theater.

But, perhaps the most important role of a Teacher, is to recognize that he or she will NEVER be a Savior. It is NOT the role and purpose of a Teacher to view himself or herself as some type of Modern day Savior. If one has a Savior-like complex, AVOID the classroom and ESPECIALLY AVOID the Lecture Hall. Your role as a Teacher is to NOT emulate Paul of Tarsus or to emulate any other historic Preacher since St. Paul. Yes, there is a quasi-missionary aspect to the role of Teaching and yes, very good-(even exceptionally good) Teachers can speak inspirationally and encouragingly on a subject matter. However, that is far different than embarking on quest to righteously transform the world. Sanctimony, proselytization and pseudo-righteous activism, are POOR teaching characteristics and such loathsome characteristics should NEVER enter into a classroom or lecture hall.

I hope this answers your question.

  • Why the downvote? Comments.
    – Alex
    Oct 16 at 19:53

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