Teach English in YegAng Nongchang - Huangshi Shi

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Teaching process and the role of teacher have played significant role in the development of humanity since the early ages. Over the past decades, there have been various academic researches conducted in all parts of the world which had solid aims of improving quality of teaching and identifying important factors that influence its effectiveness. Majority of these academic researches are revolved around teachers in particular, since it is hard to underestimate the role of teacher in learning process. One important point that should be taken into the consideration is that according to J. Harmer (The Practice of English Language Teaching, 1991) there are many roles that teacher plays in the classroom. Also, it should be stated that J. Harmer is not the only one who pointed out that teachers play different roles in the classroom. Brown, H. Douglas (2007) also mentions that “teachers can play many roles in the course of teaching and this might facilitate learning.” Different roles of teachers will be discussed in the detail in the current essay with the focus on their applicability in the classroom. The first role that is described by J.Harmer is controller. This role is mainly applicable to teachers that view themselves as ”direct transmitters of knowledge”. It focuses mostly on leadership and keeping the class organized. This role is effective in many ways if the teacher is charismatic. However, it also possesses some drawbacks, one of which is that it limits the possibilities for the students to experiment and learn themselves. Also, it is highly dependent on the charisma and leadership of the teacher and can be very inefficient if the teacher lacks the ability to aspire. At last, this role tends to be overly comfortable for many teachers which makes them too attached to it and limits their potential for the growth as a teacher. The second role of the teacher is prompter. It is more discreet compared to the role of controller and focuses on encouragement of students to experiment and find answers for themselves. One of the crucial points of this role is that the teacher must encourage the students without taking the initiative and shifting attention to himself. The process of prompting is very sensitive since the teacher has to maintain the balance between being too adamant and too retiring. The third role of the teacher is participant. This role mainly revolves around the teacher directly participating in the activities during in the class instead of simply monitoring them. According to J.Harmer, there are various reasons why teacher would want to participate in these activities, one of which is to liven things up from inside. In other words, direct participation might prove useful since teacher will have an ability to make activities more enjoyable for students and build a better rapport with them. However, teacher should in all cases avoid being too dominant during his participation since it will neglect the purpose of the activity. The fourth role of the teacher is resource. There are various situations in which the teacher should neither participate nor control the activities of the students. Even prompting them can be irrelevant on certain occasions. In this case teacher should act as a resource which is available for students, providing them with the information that they are lacking or answering their questions. It is very important that teacher must not in any way overdo it and make students rely on him too much. Another interesting insight that is provided by J.Harmer regarding the resource role is that in some cases the teacher might be unsure about the answer to some questions himself. In that case, being a reliable resource implies the ability to guide students to find answers themselves or to state that the answers will be provided later. The last role of the teacher is tutor. It revolves around the support of individuals or small groups of students. There are several points that should be taking into consideration while acting as tutor. First of all, the teacher should try to assist as many students as possible without neglecting some of them. Second of all, just like in other roles, teacher must be careful not to overdo it. Despite the fact that acting as tutor can be challenging sometimes, it is a very useful role since it allows teacher to build more intimate relationship with his students, ensuring that they will trust him during their learning process. In conclusion, it can be said that the ability to adapt to any role is crucial for every teacher. Since all of these roles are more effective in different situations, mastering every role provides teacher with necessary flexibility which will allow him to increase the overall effectiveness of learning process. On the other hand, being too attached to a single role will result in a decrease of effectiveness and enjoyment of the students. In a similar manner, one should not be too attached to the roles that are already defined since there is a possibility that there are more roles that the teacher can play in the classroom which have not been yet researched or defined. There is no doubt, however, that one of the most important points of defining various roles of a teacher is to understand the importance of flexibility and adaptability to various situations and needs of students. Therefore, teachers who lack these traits must focus on their improvement to improve the quality of learning process.