Task 1 – Teacher roles
Write down a list of roles you think a teacher
should play in a classroom (e.g. organiser),
and try to come up with typical classroom
examples where these roles would be used.
Show this list to the person beside you and
compare and discuss.
Teacher roles - Introduction
Teachers have two major roles in the EFL
to create the conditions under which learning can
take place: the social side of teaching;
to impart, by a variety of means, knowledge to
their learners: the task-oriented side of
Both roles complement each other and are difficult
to separate from each other. (Beltrán, 2001: 5)
(Beltrán, 2001: 5)
Harmer 2001, chapter 4
Harmer, J. 2001/1991. The Practice of English Language Teaching. London:
The role of the teacher varies with the nature
of the classroom activity at any given moment.
Role can vary from controller to facilitator:
Role of Teacher
According to Harmer, the teacher can have the following roles.
Harmer, J. 2001/1991. The Practice of English Language Teaching.
Role 1: The Controller
Controller of: - what is said and done; when
students speak; the language students use
Certain stages of the lesson demand such
control. However, not all stages of a language
lesson require such control.
Role 2: The Assessor
Checking students’ performance and progress.
Harmer distinguishes between
direct correction (on the spot correction, e.g.
pronunciation or grammar), and
organised correction (general feedback on
Role 3: The Organiser
Organising the class, in every sense, is one of
the teacher’s central roles.
Success in this role underlies one’s overall
success as a teacher.
Examples of organisational aspects of a
- giving clear instructions;
- organising and setting up activities;
- managing seating etc.
Role 4: The Prompter
When encouragement is needed for the
students, it is the teacher’s responsibility to
However, too much can be aggressive or can
cause over reliance on the teacher.
Role 5: The Participant
Sometimes the teacher may need to
participate in class activities.
Care must be taken not to be over-dominant.
Role 6: The Resource
For language students, the teacher is a
‘walking resource’ on language. Very often, the
teacher is called on to explain a new word or
grammar point or give a translation.
By allowing the students to get on with an
activity, the teacher is free to move around and
be available to anyone who needs
Role 7: The Tutor
This is similar to role 6, but on a broader level.
For example, when doing a project students
may need some specific advice and guidance.
Role 8: The Observer
Even when we are in other roles, we need to
be observing what is going on in the
classroom at the same time
Be alert at all times to the effects of our actions
and student interactions
Through constantly observing and questioning
our procedures and looking out for what leads
to successful learning (and what does not), we
can develop as teachers.
The teacher as Performer
“sage on the stage”
Teachers may also ‘perform’ to different levels at
different times in the classroom
The teacher can therefore assume a role and act out
How do you think the teacher should ‘perform’ during
the following tasks? Choose adverbs:
1. Team game
3. Teacher reading aloud
4. Whole-class listening
Edge (1993: 11-13)
Edge, J. 1993. Essentials of English Language Teaching. London: Longman
The challenge is to go on developing into the teacher you
most want to be. Edge lists the following most important
things a teacher must be responsible for. Put these areas of
responsibility in order of what you feel are the most important
as an ELT teacher.
Why is it important to study the
This relationship is at the heart of the
classroom process (see Wright 1987).
The role is influenced by many factors, for
•The learning task
•The motivation of the students and teacher
•The physical setting (room, furniture etc.)
‘An understanding and awareness of the intricacies of the social
and psychological processes of the classroom is central to
effective teacher development’ Wright, T. 1987. Roles of the Teacher and Learners. Oxford:
Oxford University Press. (p.84)
• Fair but firm
• Inclusive i,e
• Explain and offer
Teaching -V- Learning
Teaching = Learning?
How do people learn?
Learning styles – do you know yours?
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (1983)
Check out your own learning style on:
Harmer, J. 2001. The Practice of English Language
Teaching. (Chapter 4)
Edge, J. 1993. Essentials of English Language
Teaching. London: Longman. (pp. 11-14)
Scrivener, J. (1994). Learning Teaching. Oxford:
Heinemann (Chapter 1)
Wright, T. 1987. Roles of the Teacher and Learners.
Oxford: Oxford University Press. (pp. 50-71)
Beltrán, Elina Vilar. 2001. Roles of teachers A case
study based on :Diary of a language teacher (J. Appel,
1995). Jornades de Foment de Investigació: