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Teacher Roles in English Language Teaching


Teacher Roles mostly guide the classroom setting and student roles. So, it is crucial to define the teacher’s roles so that the students knew the things that they are supposed to. If you landed on this site, you are maybe an English teacher.

What is your role in an English Language Teaching (ELT) class?

Teacher Roles in English Language Teaching

Teachers play many roles. In the current teaching situation, teachers play as a facilitator. They only advise and direct, but they do not control and never dictate the learning process. If you will recognize it, the teacher’s role depends and connected to the teaching methods of the teacher because it determines the degree of control in the learning process. The contents of the lesson and how the students and the teacher interact depend on the teacher roles.

Traditional Roles of English Teachers

If you revisit the previous theories and English teaching strategies, you will notice that traditional classrooms are teacher-centered. It merely means that the teacher is the director of the learning process. A teacher directs the way that the students will learn and what they should learn. So, the students before are asked to memorize, perform drills, and repeat after the teacher. The strategies of teaching this way fall on teaching strategies like the Grammar-Translation method, Audio-Lingual method, Total Physical Response, and many more. In the traditional roles of English teachers, the teacher is the source of knowledge.  The learners are merely receivers of information, absorbers, and receivers of knowledge. They do not have control over what they will learn nor how they should learn it.

Teacher Roles with Focus on the Learners

The change in the ideas leads to a shift in teaching methodology and learners’ focus in the classroom. Way back 1960s to 1970s, plenty of theories in teaching the language helped the teachers determine how language is taught in the school.  These approaches are the following:

A. Humanistic Approach. This theory considers the learner’s intellectual and emotional development.

B. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). This approach is based on teaching communication skills in the real world.

New Teacher Roles in a Task-Based Teaching Approach

The Task-Based Teaching Approach stems from Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). Task-Based Language Teaching is a current approach with a focus on learning by doing. The learners have to use many different communicative language strategies. In this approach, the teacher roles also change. Teachers are now facilitators of learning. They are no longer the knowledge providers; they only guide, motivate, advise, and monitor the progress of the students. Also, they know how to recognize learners’ differences; that’s why they provide varied communicative activities. Furthermore, they involve the students in collaborative work or group activities and keep them motivated in learning the language.


Teacher roles in the classroom nowadays changed from a controller to an organizer to becoming a guide, and now a facilitator. Learners nowadays have more control over their learning process. It sounds good in theory but can become challenging to achieve. Often, the learning contexts do not welcome these changes. One reason is the educational system and specific curricular guidance. Then, learners may not be ready to make these changes. Therefore, as a teacher, you should consider the cultural norms and the expectations in addition to the teaching approaches and strategies when you plan a shift from traditional roles to the modern roles of a teacher.

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