What makes a good teacher?* - Buntet Pesantren What makes a good teacher?* - Buntet Pesantren
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    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    What makes a good teacher?*

    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.

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