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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Role of the teacherTeaching is one of today’s most challenging career choices because it is absolutely vital to social, cultural, and economic health. Modern teachers are adapting new practices that acknowledge both the art and science of learning. In my opinion the most important thing in the classroom is the teacher understanding what is required and expected from him or her. The role of the teacher is of vital importance for learning to take place. From the context of this course I have learned that there are nine primary roles a teacher can have while in the classroom and knowing when and exactly how to use each of these is also extremely important. The teacher must at all times be a model for the students. The teacher is a source of real, live english and sometimes the only one students will have. Students have expectations of the teacher, and thus, the teacher has a responsibility to give correct grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. At times the teacher will be the manager or controller of the classroom. This means that he/she is in charge of the class and/or activity taking place, normally by vocally giving direction, instruction, or explanation. One must realize that especially while giving directions or explanations he/she is managing and modeling for the class and should always be aware of pronunciation, vocabulary usage, and clarity. Similar to being a model, the teacher must also always be an assessor. The teacher must counsel students by evaluating, gently correcting and giving constant feedback. Of this, it is of extreme importance to be very fair and consistent with all students as well as sensitive to the progression and reaction of each individual constantly providing the necessary support. Quite often the teacher will find the need to become an organizer. This is one of the most frequently recognizable roles used by teachers and therefore teachers need to be very comfortable in using it. Any time a teacher is giving instructions for an activity or work, dividing students into pairs or groups, initiating or closing activities, or organizing feedback, he/she is being an organizer. There are many roles used during classroom activities and a teacher must be careful to recognize when to use each. At times the teacher needs to be active in what is occurring, thus becoming a prompter, tutor, or even a participant. Other times the teacher should maintain a certain distance by being only a resource or an observer. As a prompter, the teacher needs sometimes to only encourage the use of the english language and other times to gently encourage ideals of creativity or vocabulary. When acting as a tutor, the teacher has a more intimate relationship with the student by giving guidance, support, or encouragement. The issue to take care with is dividing attention equally among all students and not overly interrupting. When participating, the teacher has the opportunity to interact with the students from the ‘inside’ to energize the current activity or student’s imaginations, thus promoting learning. Also, it is intelligent to devise some activities allowing the students to take learning into their own hands while the teacher is available only as a resource or facilitator giving guidance only when needed. It is vital for a teacher to sometimes simply observe or monitor during classroom activities. This allows the teacher to note progress and/or areas that require more attention, work, or study. Above all, the teacher must grasp that their most important role is to get to know each student as an individual as each has unique needs, learning style, social and cultural background, and interests. In order to get students to truly take an interest in learning, the curriculum needs to relate to their lives, activities must engage their natural curiosity, and assessment must measure real accomplishments. Teachers must challenge students to take an active role in learning to give every child or person a unique and rewarding educational experience. Thus, helping them to integrate their emotional, social, and intellectual growth in order to seek, understand, and use knowledge to make better decisions in their personal lives and to contribute to society.