Roles Defined

Changing roles is imperative for a smooth lesson in the classroom. Moreover, your students will notice a rhythm to the lesson and will be more actively engaged in what is happening during the class.

Planner –

The first thing a teacher needs to be effective at is planning. The planning role involves creating a map of how the class will play out essentially from start to finish. I myself write this plan down on a scratch piece of paper, but some schools will require you to create a full page lesson plan for their records. Preparing the lesson should involve laying out the stages, times frames, and interaction patterns you would like to implement before the class starts. The goal in planning is to maximize student’s talk time and minimize your own talk time.

Controller  –

At the start of class you need to set the agenda and introduce new material by acting as a controller. This period of time is usually held at the start of class and during the initial presentation of material. Here is where you familiarize your students with the days lesson. You should not carry this role out for the entire class. It should be a limited role only used for the initial startup.

Manager –

You also need to manage activities in intervals throughout the class period, for example you will need to demonstrate instructions and provide the framework for students. If this is not done correctly then your students won’t know which direction to go in or how to finish tasks.

Facilitator –

The role of the facilitator is most important to teaching English to speakers of other languages. This is a very hands off approach where you force the students to do most of the talking. You can accomplish this by enacting group and pairwork exercises within the classroom and essentially dancing around the classroom from group to group.  During these exercises it is important that you do more listening rather than instructing. Allow the students to experiement with English with minimual correction.

Resource -

Be a resource throughout the duration of the lesson by making sure your students are aware that you are a resource and that they can call on you for guidance. Don’t just ask if they have questions, ask for suggestions and make yourself approachable. Students will be more likely to approach you with questions if you are personable. If students know there are no stupid questions then they will be more likely to use you as a resource.

Assessor –

This is an important role in the ESL teaching method, but don’t abuse it. Being an assessor means you will correct errors only when necessary and provide feedback to students on tasks. What I mean by don’t abuse it, is don’t pester your students with too much feedback or corrections because you will discourage them. Assessing students is important and can be done most effectively in an impersonal way through testing, assigning grades, and recommending English level. Giving feedback during class time may be best during pair work or group work activities as you are not calling out the student in front of the entire class. The last thing you want your student to do is go into self-doubt mode by becoming quiet and not participating.


Balance These Roles During Your Lessons

To conclude always make sure the learning process allows students to discover, let your students do most of the talking, avoid long explanations, implement pair work and group work activities, keep them engaged and active while being unobstructed. Teaching ESL students effectively is a craft developed over time, yet with the right resources you should do fine. Just make sure you change roles in an effective and timely manner and in accordance with ESL teaching structure. As stated before if you can hold to this method your school will definitely be impressed with your teaching style.