What makes a good teacher?*

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What makes a good teacher?*

Selasa, 14 Juli 2009
by: Ayyati Sa'bad


goodSociety is changing,
learners or students are changing, and we need to adapt to these new
realities. Being an effective teacher today involves different skills
than it did in the past. The experts say that in the past the teacher
did what they called teacher-centered learning environment (Paul 2003:
137). It believes that the teacher must control what students should
learn, what they should do and their behaviors. The teacher only
imparts knowledge to students. Nowadays, the approach is changing
become learner-centred method. In learner-centred lesson, teachers use
time effectively and actively help students reach their full potential
(Paul, 2003: 25). Teachers also get the students to communicate and
become self-motivated active learners.

Learner-centred are
wonderful in many ways, but in reality we need to use teacher-centred
methods. So, as a teacher we should know our roles when we implement
teacher-centred method and when we apply another one and see good
points in both. In beginning students who are highly dependent on the
teacher, a teacher-centred or teacher-fronted classroom is appropriate.
If we use activities that give students many chances to practice
English, it is easier to use time much more efficiently in a
students-centred lesson than in a teacher-centred one. It is because
the students will be more motivated and more emotionally involved in
learning. So, what makes a good teacher?

What is teacher?

we discuss further, it is better for us to know the meaning of teacher.
Dictionaries give a variety of messages about teaching. According to
the Cambridge International Dictionary of English, ‘teaching’ means ‘to
give (someone) knowledge or to instruct or train (someone)’, the
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English says that it means to ‘show
somebody how to do something’ or to ‘change somebody ideas’, whereas
Oxford Advanced Dictionary of Current English suggests ‘cause somebody
to know or be able to do something’

There are many views about what
teachers are and different functions are ascribed to teaching, so it is
better for us to know and to examine the teacher’s role not only in
education generally, but in classroom itself.

The role of teacher

1. Facilitator.

Facilitators tend to look at learners as natural learners who will be successful (Paul, 2003: 13).
A teacher as a facilitator allows the students, with guidance and
gentle prodding to find their own pathways to success. In language
learning process, the teacher capitalizes on the principle of intrinsic
motivation by allowing learners to discover language through using it
pragmatically, rather than by telling them about language (Brown, 2001:

2. controller

teacher is in charge of every moment in the classroom (Brown,
2001:167). He/She takes the roll, tell the student things, organize
drill, read aloud and in various other away exemplify the qualities of
a teacher-fronted classroom (Harmer, 2001: 5)

3. organizer

teacher has to perform has to perform is that of organizing students to
do various activities. This often involves giving the students
information, telling them how they are going to do the activity,
putting them into pairs to groups, and finally closing things down when
it is time to stop (Harmer, 2001: 5).

4. assessor

a teacher, we offer feedback and correction and grade students in
various ways (Harmer, 2001: 59). In assessing students, apart from test
and exams, we can do a number of ways, such as comments (it can be done
is and outside the class), marks and grades, report (the teacher rite
the reports on his/her students’ performance either for the students,
the school, or the parents of that students and it can be given at the
end of a term or year.) (Harmer, 2001: 101-102)

5. model

teacher acts as a model of language. If we want our students are good
in speaking and in performing English, be a good example for them
(Madya, 2009: JETA Conference), for example in saying of dialogue or
the reading aloud of a text. Besides from the teacher, students also
get model of language from textbook, reading materials of all sorts and
from audio and videotapes.

6. Manager

Manager of successful
corporations, for example, retain control of certain objectives of the
company keep employees pointed toward goals, engage in ongoing
evaluation and feedback, but give freedom to each person to work in
his/her own individual areas expertise. In a classroom should not be
markedly different. A teacher is the one who plans lesson, modules and
course, and who structures the larger, the longer segments of classroom
tine and setting.

7. participant

In discussion, roles play or
group discussion activities, a teacher might join in the activities not
as a teacher, but also as a participant in his own right. A teacher
takes a part in a discussion. When it goes well, students enjoy having
the teacher with them, and for the teacher, participating is often more
instantly enjoyable than acting as a resource.

8. resource

implication of the resource role is that the student takes the
initiative to come to us, as a teacher. We are available for advice and
counsel when the students seek it (Brown, 2001: 168).
Harmer says that when a teacher is acting a resource, he/she will want
to be helpful and available, but at the same time he/she has to resist
the urge to spoon-feed our students so that they become over-reliant on
us. Thus, instead of answering every question about what word or phrase
means, we can instead direct students to a good monolingual dictionary.
(2001: 61)

9. observer

A teacher needs to observe to alert to the
effect this/her actions are having, trying to tease out feelings and
reactions in the classroom. A teacher needs to be able to work and
observe simultaneously, listening, watching and absorbing so that he
can create the best kind of rapport between himself and his students. A
teacher needs to do an observation not only for giving feedback, but
also for watching in order to judge the success of the different
materials and activities that he takes into lesson so that he can make
changes in the future.

10. critical pedagogy

Teachers embody in
our teaching a vision of a better and more human life. Critical
pedagogy brings with it that the learners must be free to be
themselves, to think for themselves, to behave intellectually without
coercion from a powerful elite, to cherish their beliefs and tradition
and culture without the threat of forced change.

11. agents for change

teacher is not merely a teacher. We are much more than that. He is an
agent for change in a world in desperate need of change from
competition to cooperation, from powerless to empowerment, from
conflict to resolution, from prejudice to understanding. Our
professional commitments drive us to help inhabitants of this planet to
communicate with each other, to negotiate the meaning of peace, of
goodwill, and of survival on this fragile globe. We must passionately
pursue these ultimate goals with the entire professional tool available
to us.

In other situations, teachers role different ways, they
can be parents, friends, confidantes (best friend), leaders, directors,
counselors and guidess (Brown, 2001: 200). In Brown (2001: 166-167)
Rebecca Oxford et al (1998)

Hence, what is the answer for the
question “what make a good teacher?”, based on interview done by Harmer
(1998: 1) the following answers are representative of the many that
were given: A teacher should make a lesson interesting, enjoy the job,
be original (doesn’t hide his personalities from the students), be
smart, be an entertainer in a positive sense. For additional, the most
important this is not so much about teachers themselves but rather
about the relationship between the teacher and the students such as
knowing student’s name, helping students rather than shouting, knowing
what they have learned, finding out what gets them involved, spending
social time together, etc.

The conclusion of “what make a good
teacher” is that good teachers care more about their students’ learning
than they do about their own teaching. (Harmer, 1998: 3)


H. Douglas. 2001. Teaching by Principle: an Interactive Approach to
Language Pedagogy 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Jeremy. 1998. How to Teach English, an Introduction to the Practice of
English Language Teaching. England: Pearson Education Limited

Jeremy. 2001. The Practice of English Language Teaching, 3rd ed.
Completely Revised and Updated. England: Pearson Education Limited

Paul, David. 2003. Teaching English to Children in Asia. Hong Kong: Pearson Education Asia Limited

*presented when the writer was applying as an English instructor.

pointed out that teacher roles are often best described in the form of
metaphor: teacher as manufacturer, teacher as doctor, teacher as judge,
teacher as gardener an others.