Teach English in Wujing Zhen - Baoji Shi

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The scope of this essay is to analyze and describe in detail different roles the teacher may assume during a lesson. Knowledge of such content was acquired both through TEFL and CTEYL courses as well as informally, having myself been an English learner for about fifteen years and currently enrolled as student in a Japanese language institute in Tokyo, observing teachers working on a daily basis. It has first to be said that English teachers are likely to have several roles during a lesson, and these are often described in teaching textbooks. One of the most well-know, and often erroneously thought to be the only one by those having no formal training, is that of a manager. When having this role the teacher will stand in front of the class and give explanations. In conjunction with this role the teacher may act as a model, being sometimes the only source of native English the students have. This is particularly useful for pronunciation lessons, when hearing to the teacher may be useful for understanding how to say given words or sentences. Although some teacher may fell at ease with the manager role, I feel it should not overused in the light of what was learned during TEFL and CTEYL courses. A direct consequence of the teacher assuming this role too often is that teacher’s talk time will increase so much to exhaust students’ attention span. This is particularly evident when teaching to young learners, which will not be capable of following a teacher-centered lesson. That is why another fundamental role of the teacher is that of the organizer, being in charge to plan and get done by students as smoothly as possible activities which can be conducted either on their own, in pairs or even as a whole class. When assuming this role, it is important for the teacher to give clear instructions and to test their effectiveness by asking the students to explain what they are going to do rather than directly asking if they understood. Organizing activities can help increase students’ talk time and catch their attention. That is why the manager role should be played in the study phase of the lesson while on activate and engage phases the organizer role is more suitable. Aside with this, there will be other roles played by the teacher once an activity has started. If students are working on their own, for instance through worksheets, the teacher can then assume the role of a tutor, being available to give individual support when needed. This could be done in other situation but that is probable the scenario in which this role is more appropriate. If students are instead working in pairs the teacher should instead be a resource or facilitator, which means letting the activity proceed without us being part of it while still being available for help. In case students should be working as a whole class, it may sometimes will be opportune for the teacher to be a participant in the activity, actively contributing to it. Anyway, the said contribution should not be predominant over the activity, which should remain student-centered. In any case when there are activities going on the teacher will sometimes need to act as a monitor, observing how the activity is proceeding in order to act consequently. Finally there are two more roles which need to be taken into consideration. One of these is that of the teacher as an assessor. This is fundamental as any course will require the students to be evaluated, and even within a lesson understanding if the students are and how they are getting language points can give the teacher a feedback on what should need to be revised more and if he teaching methods put in place are being effective. This feedback is also needed by students, as they necessitate to know if they are learning properly. Anyway this is also one of the most difficult roles to have as it involves being careful on how to make corrections in order not to provoke an undesired reaction in the corrected students, and that is why a full section of TEFL was devoted to that. Last but not least the teacher can act as a prompter by encouraging students to use English more by, for instance, asking further questions on an answer given by a student. This role is also difficult to be played as it could make students become more lazy. All these roles differ one another and knowing which to play and when can have important consequences on whether a lesson is successful or not. As this is probably one of the most important aspects of teaching there are no written formulas for assuming the right role when needed, and it is probable something which needs to be acquired with experience in this job.