Role of the TeacherSuccessful EFL teachers have many different qualities that make them ideal candidates to work with students; however, the best of these use their traits to fulfill the multiple roles of a teacher in the classroom.
One of the primary and arguably most important roles of the teacher is that of the instructor—actually imparting information to the students. Instruction can be implemented in many different ways, but there are various roles to fill within the instructor position. In an EFL classroom, the teacher is also a model of the english
language and a resource for students as possibly their only basis of real, authentic language. Teachers must counsel students with any problems or questions they might have about the language, as it’s unlikely they have any other accessible source. As stated in ITTT’s Unit 1, “The teacher is the fount of all knowledge on english
grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, and in these areas they have particular responsibility and authority in the eyes of a learner” (4). A teacher’s instructional role also includes being a tutor, providing individual attention and assistance to those who need it as they guide a class through the learning process. During and after a class, the teacher will be an assessor that evaluates the effectiveness of her/his teaching and how much the students have learned over a period of time.
Another essential role of a teacher is that of the manager, controlling the classroom and its students to create a suitable learning environment for everyone. Within this function exist other duties, such as monitoring and organizing. As a monitor, teachers observe the students and how they complete their work. If the work is too easy or too difficult, the students are more likely to become distracted. Close observation of each lesson is critical to keeping the classroom equilibrium maintained. Also falling into the realm of management is the role of organizer. It is difficult to express the significance of a teacher creating well-planned lessons, as ITTT Unit 1 states, “It is extremely important that teachers are comfortable in this role, as chaos could be caused if students are not aware of the task, or how the groups are supposed to function” (3). The more prepared a teacher is for each class, the better chance s/he has at keeping the students occupied and focused for the period and not allowing opportunities for students to be disruptive. When students do misbehave, however, it is also the teacher’s job to act quickly to defuse the situation and work to prevent future disturbances. Frequent outbursts by one or many students can interrupt lessons to a point in which they lose instructional effectiveness, which makes controlling the classroom a central role of the teacher.
Teachers also have an imperative role as a motivator for the students. It is vital that a teacher works to find what motivates students to want to learn, whether they have certain goals to reach, activities they like, or topics they find interesting. The teacher must find a way to engage the students in the learning process. Encouragement is vital to get students to participate, and praise of their effort in work is also helpful in helping to promote a positive relationship between the students and the language. One way to support students is to give prompts when they have problems with either knowing or communicating the language. ITTT insists that prompting must be done in a careful and sensitive manner so as “not to take the initiative away from the student” (3). Indeed, it is a great motivation for students to be able to complete a task by themselves, but when that is not possible a teacher should recognize the need to help students so that they are not discouraged. Motivation is a fine balance, but if a teacher can find it, then there are no better learners than those that truly want to be in the classroom.
While it may seem very challenging for EFL teachers to assume so many roles in the classroom, it is important that they try their hardest. They, and their students, will be better off for it and will have much greater chances of learning english