An educator is anyone who models, demonstrates, or explains something to another. This includes parents, childcare workers, school teachers, coaches, instructors, mentors, and trainers of all sorts. It also includes the many people who provide information as part of their work in museums, aquariums, zoos, observatories, science centers, fish and wildlife preserves, forest and agricultural demonstration centers, scouting, 4H and boys & girls clubs and public libraries. These are people who know their content area and can relate the information to the work world.
How do we know when a person learns? What does it mean for an educator to be effective, and how do we measure effectiveness? Educator effectiveness is based on observable and measurable learner outcomes. When we want to know if lessons have been effective, we ask questions such as the following: What can learners do after a lesson that they could not do before? What do learners now know and can relate and connect to what was known before? Are they able to identify questions that remain? Along with increased knowledge, have the learners also changed their awareness of how the topic of study fits into the broader scheme? Do the learners have a greater appreciation for related issues? Have the learners become critical thinkers on the topic in question?
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