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The Importance of Utilizing Different Roles in The Classroom

The Importance of Utilizing Different Roles in The Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Education is one of the most important bricks at the foundation of every society and high-quality education can only be achieved with the help of well-prepared teachers who care about the learning of their students. A teacher should not only master and constantly be up to date with the changes in the field of the subject he/she is teaching but also be able to convey his/her message in such a way that the students understand and enjoy.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Catalina T. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Choice of Activities

Depending on the stage of the lesson and the type of activity, lessons can be more student-centered or more teacher-centered. To have a structured and engaging lesson, the teacher needs to make sure that there is a balance between the two. Amongst the qualities that make a good teacher, there are patience and the ability to establish and maintain rapport. The more the teacher shows he/she cares about his/her students and makes efforts to gain their confidence, the higher the chances of achieving good results and an enjoyable learning experience.

The process of learning a new language requires dedication and commitment to be present in several lessons. Each lesson has an objective and to reach that objective, the teacher usually organizes different activities to engage the students. Some examples of these activities are open discussions, games, gap-filling exercises, role-play, mill-drills, story-building activities, etc. The roles that the teacher will have to employ depends on the type of activity chosen and the topic of the lesson. It is normal for the teacher to adopt a more dominant role when promoting and enforcing good discipline and in contrast be more withdrawn when students are involved in activities that require their undivided attention and focus.

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All lessons, irrespective of the topic that is being taught, should have a structure that allows the teacher to have a well-organized lesson that follows a normal flow, pacing and smooth transitions from one activity to another. Effective lessons start with an ‘engage’ phase where the teacher establishes rapport, arouses students’ interests and encourages student involvement through games and other activities that serve as warmers, continuing with a phase in which students will focus on the new concepts and how they are constructed, also known as the ‘study’ phase, where students would do gap-filling exercises, word searches or language drills and finish with the ‘activate’ phase where students use the newly learned concepts as freely as possible through activities like role-plays, producing material and story building.

Lesson Stages

During the engage phase the teacher should act more as a participant, get to know the students as well as open up to them to establish rapport and gain their confidence. Because this phase is more focused on establishing rapport, correcting every mistake students make would not be appropriate as this would not encourage them to express themselves freely. Consequently, during this phase, the teacher should maintain his/her role as a participant and avoid correcting all mistakes.

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When pair-work or group-work is necessary, usually in the study phase, the students need guidance and clear instructions to avoid chaos in the classroom. In these situations, the teacher should act as an organizer, give clear instructions, initiate activities, wrap up the lesson and organize feedback. Once the teacher organized the activity and the students know what they have to do, the teacher should then adopt the role of a resource and only intervene when they need any assistance without interfering or spoon-feeding them. Frequently, the teacher would need to monitor and observe the students to gather information about how long an activity is likely to take or how successful it has been. During this process, the teacher needs to keep the distance but also occasionally move in a little to look at writing in progress or hear what students are discussing.

During the learning process, students might lose the thread of what they are trying to say and will need a little encouragement to finish their idea instead of letting them work it out for themselves. This is where the teacher should act as a prompter helping the student and acknowledging his/her initiative. Within the classroom, the teacher is the one who students look up to mainly because he/she has the knowledge and speaks the language fluently and correctly. Therefore the teacher should act as a model for his/her students and encourage them to practice their pronunciation and fluency.

Like in every learning cycle, the progress should be measured frequently to find out what students have managed to learn and work on the weak spots. This is where the teacher needs to act as a fair and consistent assessor evaluating and grading the students.

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A teacher must offer his/her students an interactive and consistent educational experience and this can only be done by adapting to his/her students’ needs. Irrespective of the age, nationality or level of the students present in the classroom a teacher should be open-minded, versatile and know which role to take and when and constantly look for ways to make his/her lessons something that students look forward to.

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