THE ROLE OF A TEACHER IN TEACHING ENGLISH
Heru Purwanto (10142018)
Muh. Saeful effendi (10142019)
Teaching and learning are complex processes. It involves many aspects. The two main
important aspects are the teacher and learner. An English teacher is someone who responsible
in conducting English lesson. He or she has important roles in teaching activities. Teacher’s
roles in teaching activities have been improving. Teacher should be able to play different roles
in conducting the lesson from one activity to another as if they were actors on the stage.
Through this paper, the writer would like to reveal kinds of teacher’s roles proposed by expert
and other aspect related to this. By having small discussion on it, the writer wants to
acknowledge that teacher plays important roles in conducting English lesson.
Key word: teaching, teacher, teacher’s roles
Teaching and learning are two concepts which cannot be discussed
separately. Brown states that learning is acquiring or getting of knowledge of a
subject or a skill by study, experience, or instruction. Similarly, teaching may be
defined as showing or helping someone to learn how to do something, giving
instruction, guiding in the study of something, providing with knowledge, causing
to know or understand (Brown, 2000: 7). From the definition, it can be inferred that
teaching is guiding and facilitating learning. The teacher is enabling the learners to
learn, setting the condition of learning and managing the process. The
understanding of how the learns learn will determine the philosophy used, teaching
styles, approaches, methods, and classroom techniques.
As the agent of changes, teacher plays important roles. The roles may
change from one activity to another. The varieties of the roles depend on the
classroom situation and teacher’s characteristics. In the classroom, a teacher is
asked to play many roles. The possibilities are being an authority figure, a leader, a
director, manager and even such roles as a friend, a partner and a parent. Some of
these roles will be more prominent than others, especially in the eyes of student,
depending on the type of course, on the student and also on the teacher’s
characteristics. In enhancing teacher’s effectiveness, a teacher should be fluent at
making the change.
A. The Roles of a Teacher
Teacher’s roles may be defined as role of teacher in using several
acts, attitudes, or program which supports teacher in conducting the lesson.
Teachers’ roles are varying one to another. An old-fashioned teacher will only
stand at the front all the time controlling affairs and transferring knowledge to
the student. Meanwhile, some expert state that teaching is not merely
transferring knowledge from the teacher to student. But it also about creating
condition in which, somehow, student learn for themselves. In some occasions
a teacher will want to be at the front of the class to motivate, instruct, or explain
something to the whole class. There is nothing wrong with that, but variation is
needed to have more comfortable classroom.
In having some variation of teachers’ roles Palmer (2001: 57-56)
propose some teachers’ roles. They are as the following.
In the Oxford Advanced Learns’ Dictionary facilitator means
person or thing that facilitate. It means that facilitator makes something
possible or easier. In English teaching, teachers who act as facilitator should
ease student in learning English. In this type of classroom learners are given
tasks to work on and where, in the process of performing these needs special
qualities including maturity, intuition, educational skill (to develop students’
awareness of language and learning), an openness to student input, and a
greater tolerance of uncertainty.
Controller means a person who manages or directs something.
When teachers act as controllers they are in charge of the class and of the
activity. Controllers take the roll, tell student things, organize drills, read
aloud, and in various other ways exemplify the qualities of a teacher-fronted
classroom. Controller role is effective if teacher give announcement, explain
theory, order something, etc. But, by being a controller a teachers must be
careful since as controller there some disadvantages. Those are:
a. It denies student access to their own experiential learning by focusing
everything on the teacher.
b. It cuts down on opportunities for student to speak because when the
class is acting as a whole group, fewer individuals have a chance to say
anything at all.
c. Over-reliance on transmission can result in a lack of variety in activities
and classroom atmosphere.
One the most important roles that teacher have to perform is that
organizing students to various activities. There are four main activities.
There are four main activities for being an organizer.
a. First all, teacher should get the student involved, engaged, and ready. In
this part, teacher inform student about the activity; the form, the
procedure, the media, etc. By having this instruction, teachers want the
student do activity because they need it (they know the rationale for the
activity) instead of just doing something because the teacher says so.
b. After the student grasp about the information, the teacher should start or
initiate the activity. In this part, learners need to know how much time
they have got and exactly when they should start. It will limit the
student not being far away from the track.
c. Teachers stop the activity when the student have finished and/ or when
other factors show the teacher an the student that it is time to stop. After
that teachers should think about ‘content feedback’.
The role of organizer can be summarized as follows
Engage instruct (demonstrate) initiate
As a process, learning needs to be assessed. It will see how far
student master the target. Teacher should assess, give feedback and
correction and grade student in various ways. In doing the assessment,
teacher must be fair. Mistake is always a mistake. But teacher must
remember that there must be a reason for the mistake and it should be
informed to the student. Teachers must build good communication to inform
As prompter, at first, teachers let the student work alone.
Teachers want to encourage student to think creatively, for example in a
role-play activity. When students cannot continue the dialogue teachers
cannot help directly. Teachers just give some guidance. When teachers
prompt, they need to do it sensitively and encouragingly. If, on the other
hand, teachers are retiring, teachers may not supply the right amount of
As teachers, they can also be participant in the learners’ activity.
Teacher can get involved for example in the role play, discussion, group
working activities etc. by being themselves. They are the participants of the
discussion. It will be more enjoyable rather than being a resource. The
danger of it is that teacher sometimes becomes too dominant in the
discussion since they have better ability in English to express their opinion.
Most of Indonesian teachers’ are resources for their student. If
they are English teachers, students assume that their teachers are a walk-
dictionary. Teachers must know everything. I fact, no teacher know
everything about the language. So to be a good resource, teacher does not
need to be perfect. Teacher should give the way to get the information rather
than always explain or gives the information directly so that learners do not
become over-reliant on the teacher.
As a tutor, a teacher works with individuals or small groups
since it is difficult to be a tutor in a very large group. In tutorial activities
learners have a real chance to feel supported and helped, and the general
class atmosphere is greatly enhanced as a result. But in being a tutor, a
teacher must be sure that the teacher does not intrude either too much (which
will impede learner autonomy) or too little (which will be unhelpful).
A teacher who is being an observer especially in oral
communication will give group or individual feedback. In giving feedback a
teacher should be careful not to be too intrusive by hanging on their every
word, by getting too close to them or by officiously writing things down all
the time. The teacher should avoid drawing attention to her or his self since
in doing so may well distract learners from the task they are involved in.
B. The Teacher as Performer
After knowing the roles, teachers should perform the roles correctly. In
conducting activities, a teacher also has many different performance styles
depending on the situation. Different teachers act differently and that individual
teachers vary their behavior, depending upon what they are doing. It suggests
that instead of just saying what role teachers should be playing, it will also
describe how they should be playing. Teachers not only need to be aware of the
roles but also need to be able to use each of these different roles. It is also vitally
important to consider how teachers actually behave during the performance. The
following table describes how teachers perform in some activities.
Activity How the teacher should perform
1. Team game Energetically, encouragingly, clearly, fairly
2. Role-play Clearly, encouragingly, retiringly, supportively
3. Teacher reading aloud Commandingly, dramatically, interestingly
4. Whole-class listening Efficiently, clearly, supportively
C. Teacher as Teaching aid
Apart from the roles which teachers adopt in the classroom and the way
that these roles are performed, teachers are also a kind of teaching aid. In
particular, teachers are especially useful when using mime and gesture, as
language models and as providers of comprehensible input.
a. Mime and gesture
One of the things that teacher are able to do on the spot is to use mime,
gesture, and expression to convey meaning and atmosphere. Mime and
expression work best when they are exaggerated since this makes their
b. Language model
Mostly, students get their language model from their teachers. It is
considered easier than getting from the textbooks, reading materials of all
sort, and from audio tapes. Language model from the teacher is easier to
grasp because the speed, and the language is suited to the learners’ need.
c. Provider of comprehensible input
An issue that confronts many teachers in classroom is how much they
themselves should talk, and what kind of talk this should be. Teachers must
be aware of how much they are speaking. They should give students chances
to practice production rather than listening the teachers all the time.
D. Teachers Play in Teaching English
Teachers’ roles in the classroom depend on the situation of the
classroom. Teachers should know themselves, their limitation, the strength and
weaknesses, like and dislike and then accept the fact that teachers are called
upon to be many things to many different people. By knowing teachers ability,
teachers can start playing different kinds of roles. The roles cannot stand alone.
It is interdependent. It is impossible to play just one teacher role. The varieties
depend on the method teachers used. For example, Brown (2000: 166-167)
propose roles of the interactive teachers. For being an interactive teacher,
someone should be able to act sometimes as controller, director, manager,
facilitator and also resource. Since one role has strengths and weaknesses,
teacher should be able to combine it. They must be able to act many different
roles. If one role fails, teacher can still continue the lesson. It means that
teachers can be seen as ‘actor on the stage’ who can play different kinds of
roles wherever and whenever it is needed.
The qualified teachers are equipped with several competencies. One of
them is applying different kinds of teaching method, techniques and also
materials. Related to the teaching techniques, teachers’ are provided with many
kinds of teachers’ roles. Those are facilitator, controller, organizer, assessor,
prompter, assessor, resource, tutor and observer. The role is dependent. Where
some activities are difficult to organize without the teacher acting as controller,
other have no chance of success unless, teachers take a less domineering roles.
There are times when a teachers acts as controller. On the other time it would be
more appropriate to act as a resource. It means that teachers should be able in
using different kinds of teachers’ roles in conducting the lesson. Teacher should be
able to switch between the various roles. They should be able to choose with one
is appropriate to the activities and students’ characteristics. They should be aware
of how to carry out the role and how to carry out the role and how to perform it.
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Harmer, Jeremy. 2001. The Practice of English Language Teaching. England: Pearson
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