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The Tutor As Learning Facilitator
by Nick Minnion

Old Model Of Teaching

The old traditional methods of education often followed the authoritarian model of teaching. This looks something like this:

The teacher has a large knowledge of the subject, the pupil a relatively small understanding of it.

The teacher takes bits of their knowledge and transmits it across the void to the pupil.

The pupil somehow receives these bits of knowledge and adds them to what they already know.

The pupil's knowledge of the subject grows as a sort of duplicate of the teacher's knowledge and understanding.

There are many problems with this model:

It works well only if the pupil and teacher share a similar general view of the universe.

It makes no real allowance for the pupil's individual strengths and weaknesses.

It doesn't allow the pupil to engage with the subject on their own terms. This often has the effect of alienating the subject in the eyes of the pupil.

Up until relatively recently this model of teaching was prevalent in mainstream education at primary and secondary school levels throughout the UK and I'm fairly certain that a similar model has prevailed in most parts of the world.

I feel sure that many of you reading this article will have memories of being taught like this. I am equally sure that you have probably retained little of the 'knowledge gained ' in this fashion.

New Model Of Teaching

In the new model I rename the teacher 'tutor' and the pupil 'student'.

The new model of teaching is based on the tutor facilitating the learning process. The tutor does this by helping the student engage directly with the subject on their own terms:

Why is this important? For two simple reasons:

A great deal more learning occurs with the new model.

The process is far more enjoyable for both the student and the tutor.

Nick Minnion is the founder of, a popular website for guitar teachers. He is also an experienced guitarist / guitar teacher and author of How To Make A Living Teaching Guitar, Fifty Flexible Lesson Plans For Teaching Guitar, and How To Increase Your Income From Guitar Teaching.

©2002, 2009 Nick Minnion. This material may be freely copied and distributed providing that this copyright notice including the website address is included in full. This material may not be included in any publication offered for sale without the written agreement of the copyright holder. For further information on this and related articles please visit:

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