The Role of the Teacher: Part II

In the last post, we began to look at various roles of teachers in the classroom. In this post, we will look at additional roles of teachers in the class. In particular, we will look at the following roles.

  • Participator
  • Expert

Participator

The teacher as participator is a democratic approach to teaching. In this role, the teacher is just another person along for the learning experience. The teacher can choose to participate in such learning experiences as discussion, experiments, and educational games.

Students usually enjoy it when the teacher is along for the ride. As such, the participator role is very useful in developing an appropriate social climate in the classroom. The participating teacher is highly useful for collaborative learning and self-directed learning.

As with all roles, there are some drawbacks. For example, it is easy for the teacher to take control when participating due to their natural role as leader of the classroom. It takes a tremendous amount of self-awareness not to fall into this trap.

Below are a few examples when the participator role may be of use to a teacher

  • Discussion in large or small class
  • Situations that call for cooperative learning
  • Activities that require whole class effort

Expert

The teacher in the role of the expert is the most passive role of teaching. In this approach, the “sage on the stage” has become the “wise guy on the side.” The teacher is available to help the students but refrains from offering support until the students ask for help.

The expert role can be boring for a teacher. Many teachers love to be at the center of the learning either through direct discussion or at least participating in a discussion. However, in the role of the expert, a teacher has little to do but observe the students and step in if things get out of hand in terms of behavior or low quality work.

The ultimate goal in education for many is to develop students who become independent and are able to handle their learning without significant intervention by the teacher. As such, the teacher as an expert role is the ideal role of a teacher and represents mastery teaching as the students have mastered how to learn without teacher support.

The teacher as an expert can be used in any situation in which the students have mature to the point of handling the learning for themselves. Whether large or small class it does not have ant affect when the teacher and students can handle this role.

Conclusion

Teaching involves a variety of roles and responsibilities. A teacher can participate at times. However, the highest level of teaching is not teaching at all. Rather, the teacher just provides a tip here or there or shares a little bit of experience. The rest of the learning is left to the student.

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2 thoughts on “The Role of the Teacher: Part II

  1. Pingback: The Role of the Teacher: Part II | Education | ...

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