May 3, 2016

Teacher as Investigator

Teachers have many roles in the classroom. These roles greatly impact our lessons and our students' experiences in the classroom.

But how much time do you spend actively thinking about hat role you are performing?

Jeremy Harmer (2007), in How to Teach English, names and describes some of the various roles, which include:

  • Controller = there is no doubt who is in charge of the class.
  • Prompter = encouraging participation and helping only when necessary.
  • Expert Resource = provider of language in communicative tasks.
  • Assessor = evaluate performance, and conduct feedback/correction.
  • Organizer = knowing exactly what they are to do next.
  • Tutor = coach when students are involved in project work or self-study.
Why do you think it is important for teachers to rationalize what role they are in, when, and why?

Nola A., Senior English Instructor at Eton Institute, provides a useful insight into the roles relevant to the 21st-century by asking us to think about the type of lesson you normally teach:
  • What role do you take in each stage of the lesson?
  • Are there any teacher roles in which you have less experience?
  • Are there any new teacher roles you’d like to try in the future?
If teachers know what role they are filling, there is more chance that they will share that role with the students. Teacher as participant, often leads to teacher as dominator. Identifying these roles is the first step in self-reflection – a teacher’s main tool for professional growth.

The role of a teacher often underdeveloped or relatively undiscovered in research is that of the investigator.  This is a link to the only research I have found on this. I will be investigating further. The role I fill most in my professional life is this. I am in a constant state of reflection because of all my investigation. It is incredibly rewarding trying new techniques, strategies, and materials in the classroom. It is equally rewarding coming home at the end of the day and deciding how to improve it, modify it, or share it.

Teachers spend a lot of time in the lunch room discussing what is happening in their class. This time should be spent thinking about why those things are happening. One we know the why, we empower ourselves to make change. 

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