Yes, certainly. There always has been, and shall likely always continue to be, a role for adults who want to assist self-directed learners with their education. People of every age know the value of finding someone else who knows what you want to learn, or who can help you figure out how to learn it—whether that means how to write a compelling story, change a flat tire, conduct a scientific experiment, play a flute, cook a soufflé, direct a play, measure the angle of a ramp, or calculate the arc of a doorway. What changes is the nature of the relationship between “teacher” and “learner.” Gone are the power struggles, the uninvited instruction, the forced curriculum. If you want to be an Olympics-level performer (whether in sports or elsewhere) and you determine that only the strictest instructor can help you get there, you will accept his/her demands because you want the desired result. The more responsive to the specific needs—intellectual, emotional, etc.—of the learner the teacher is, the more likely he/she will have a fulfilling role in the lives of self-directed learners.
January 16, 2014