Some Thoughts on the Role of a Language Teacher

Teacher: One who carries on his (sic) education in public” (Theodore Roethke, American poet, 1908 – 1963; In: Jim Scrivener, Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to Language Teaching, 3rd ed. 2011, p 8)

Keywords: learner’s autonomy, teacher as moderator
I have always felt uncomfortable with calling myself an English teacher. To me, the word ‘teaching’ assumes a way too active role on my part – or on the part of any language teacher – in the process of a language learner’s development. It also shifts the blame on the teacher when the learning seems to have failed or seems to be failing.  And it gives the student of the language a false sense of security: let’s visit a class and have someone teach us the language – all we have to do is go there.

Going ‘there’ surely is a first admirable step to take when one decides to take a course, and more difficult at times than one might think. And although I do believe that some kind of learning takes place in any kind of situation in which I expect it to, the concept of ‘teacher’ places the emphasis too much on a person that will teach me; on a person Continue reading