TEACHER EDUCATION (7)The Teacher [Archives:2006/998/Education]

November 13 2006

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
Associate Professor
Department of English
University of Science and Technology, Sana'a

School is a place in which all children grow not just in life, not even in knowledge, but in curiosity, courage, confidence, independence, resilience, competence and understanding. If teaching is a complex phenomenon, the component dominating the entire system is the teacher.

Teachers guide, stimulate young minds to assimilate contradictory trends and give children the courage to question, sometimes even given knowledge. Good teachers are capable of instilling confidence and will-power in students so as to generate enlightened minds. They help students to build up their character and realize their dreams. In the final analysis it is the teacher more than any other component that makes the system effective as measured by the ends achieved.

In a general sense teachers' performance is guided and determined by the demands of the system. In as far as teacher are accepted as role models by the students, consciously or unconsciously teachers shape the students in the image of themselves. They intend for the students to acquire certain knowledge they have themselves acquired and become like themselves. Teachers intend that when the targeted learning objectives are attained, students grow as complete human beings and the acquired knowledge and skills become useful and permanent characteristics of their students as persons. No other occupation bears such formative relationship between the agent (teacher) and the subject (students).

The acronym

In the recent years, many metaphors have been coined to describe the role, function and significance of the teacher. The word TEACHER is taken as an acronym to signify the following:

A teacher is








Teacher's roles

According to Kahlil Gibran (1991 – 76), “if the teacher is indeed wise, he doesn't bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leaves you to the threshold of your own mind.” Broadly a teacher is entrusted with the onerous task of chiselling out a wholesome individual who can be a leader in public life. Towards this end he/she performs the following roles:

A teacher

– instructs students in positive social values

– assists them to succeed in the classroom

– prepares them with the necessary skills for problem solving

– inspires them to learn how they may help themselves

– prepares them to weigh options before setting goals

– impacts upon future generations

– motivates them to think critically and creatively

– prepares them to meet the daily responsibilities in a democratic society

Teacher's role in the classroom

Teachers play several roles in the classrooms with the aim to facilitate students' progress in someway or the other.

1. Controller:They are in charge of the class and of the activities. They take rolls, tell students things, organize drills, read aloud and so on.

2. Organizer:They organize students to do various activities by getting them involved, engaged and ready. They motivate students by making it clear to them that something new and interesting is going to happen which would be useful and enjoyable. The role of the organizer is to:

– Engage – instruct – demonstrate – initiate and organize feedback

3. Assessor: They have to offer feedback on students' performance.

4. Prompter: They have to supportively elicit students' response in classroom interaction.

5. Participant: They participate in group work activities and monitor their progress from time to time.

6. Resource: They are a rich reservoir of information and willingly provide help as and when students need them.

7. Tutor:They provide direction when students feel lost and encourage them to go ahead and explore.

8. Observer: Teachers observe the students' interaction pattern, their communicative competence and group dynamics.

Teacher and the classroom interaction

Teacher is the initiator, maintainer and nourisher of classroom interaction. He determines what is to be done, how and when it is to be done, and what it is to be done for. Teachers' efficiency in monitoring the direction and character of activities involved depends upon the teacher's information level about students, his/her awareness of principles and techniques of teaching, the content of instruction, and other resources available in the teaching context. If the teacher is the director or the principal initiator of the learning process or if the teaching learning process is teacher driven, it is called direct teaching. If the teaching-learning process is based on a cooperative principle, that is, if the acts of teaching is performed conjointly by students and teachers, if the students plan with the teacher what is to be done, and how and when it is to be done, then it is called “inductive method,” “discovery method,” “inquiry teaching,” “learner-centered approach” and so on.

In recent years, under the influence of humanistic and communicative theories, great emphasis has been placed on “learner-centered” teaching, that is, teaching which makes the learners needs and experience central to educational process.

Teachers' perceptions about themselves

Teachers have varied perceptions about their profession. Some teachers say they are like actors because “We are always on the stage.” Some other compare themselves with orchestra conductors because “I direct conversation and set the pace and the tune.” The third group sees a close similarity between themselves and gardeners because “We plant the seeds and then watch them grow.”

Teacher's discourse

The discourse that teachers use in their interaction with students basically aims at changing the abilities and disposition or character of their students. As such, the teachers' discourse is supposed to differ from ordinary utterance because it is laden with knowledge and practical wisdom. Teachers intend that what they say should not only be remembered in words, but be followed in spirit and be reflected in students' practical lives. In order that this ideal is achievable, teacher's discourse should be free from ambiguity, vagueness and indefiniteness.

In order that the teacher is able to discharge all the functions with passion and professionalism, he/she should fulfill his/her potential and be a self-actualized individual.


– Harmer, Jeremy (2004):The Practice of ELT. Longman

– Smith, B. SHSJM Borg, B. V. Fry (1980): A Design for a School Pedagogy. US Department of Education.