How important is the role of the teacher?



On searching the web I came across this excellent description on the role of the teacher,

There are three main activities that small group teachers have to manage simultaneously:

  • managing the group
  • managing activities
  • managing the learning.

In many small group teaching situations, the role of the teacher is that of facilitator of learning: leading discussions, asking open-ended questions, guiding process and task, and enabling active participation of learners and engagement with ideas. However, small groups function and behave in various ways and have different purposes. Teachers therefore need to be able to adopt a range of roles and skills to suit specific situations, often during the same teaching session.

All of the above is an excellent introduction to the role of the teacher in the modern classroom. It is very much about facilitating the learning and often not having the answer. The journey together as both teachers and learners can often lead to the best classroom experience especially when a teacher is taken out of their natural comfort zone.

One of the best articles I have discovered about teaching comes from a PowerPoint that I read on the TES website whilst searching for information to help complete my own understanding of how to move lessons from good to excellent. It is written by Phil Naylor and Jez Scholfield, they concluded that outstanding lessons,

‘May take teachers into areas where they feel uncomfortable’

This is the key. A good lesson is reliant on an organised teacher that understands the needs of every pupil. They have an ability to create an element of excitement however they can also feel safe.

John Holt describes the process of  teaching as a means of developing a love for learning,

“Since we cannot know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it all in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.”

From all the above what is clear is that in the classroom a teacher has an essential role to play, that of the facilitator, the person that provides the pupils with the skills to succeed and a passion for learning.

Yet a teacher is more than the sum of his or her parts. They have the power to provide inspiration, to make memories and to make a positive impact on the lives of every child in their care. They are counsellors, constantly responding to the needs of the individual and they are always having to consider the external influences on the behaviour of a child. Ultimately teachers have the opportunity to make a difference!

I believe that the role of the teacher can be explained by the 3E’s,

Excite – the pupils thinking

Empower – the pupils to love learning by giving them the skills to succeed

Enterprise – To adapt, to be flexible, to be prepared to learn with their pupils and by thinking outside the box.

With the 3E’s in place it leads to the most important role of the teacher, to enjoy providing enriched opportunities to learn.

Teaching (Photo credit: DBduo Photography)

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