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Ivonne Alexandra Londoo Leudo


THE PAINSTAKING ROLE OF THE 21ST CENTURY ENGLISH TEACHER
The world of English teaching demands better professionals with several skills,
knowledge, motivation and talents to achieve its objectives in education related to
the acquisition, performance and communication in a second language. However,
the task is not a piece of cake; the onus in teaching belongs to the teachers
awareness of different areas in which the learning is being involved such as:
Cross-curriculum, methodology, language skills, learning strategies, psychology,
classroom management, etc. Therefore, the 21
st
Century world has been
influencing every single stage the human being does and teachers cannot be
oblivious of this phenomenon.

First of all, I was absolutely engaged during the last session when we discussed
about the role of the English teachers in the 21
st
Century classroom because is one
of the issues we face nowadays. From autocratic to democratic (Harmer, 2011)
where the student-centered approach is the main goal in our lesson planning and
performance as teachers. This one, clearly demonstrate that the traditional
transmitter role is leaving aside.

Nevertheless, when describing teachers throughout my experience I have found
several roles as well as the adaptability of them according to the students needs
and teachers comfort zone. In fact, Jeremy Harmer provides descriptions about
the teachers character during the class development: Facilitator, controller,
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Ivonne Alexandra Londoo Leudo
prompter, participant, resource and tutor. Currently, I reckon the controller ones is
the most common attitude Colombian teachers assume for the reason that is easy
to be the leader, constantly in charge of the class, where its foremost mission is
transferring knowledge rather than allow the pupil discovers the world outside, and
in case of learning second languages denies them to experiment the natural
exploration of the second language through speaking. At this juncture, the
facilitator and participant role are my favorites because they promote the
autonomy, critical thinking, and freedom of thought in the students besides
affording them the opportunity to enhance its self-esteem and character; plus the
teacher takes part of discussions, games, activities as well as encouraging
students to think creatively.

Additionally, the characteristics of the 21
st
century students encompass a new
challenge, the process of make them understand a 21
st
century society based on
collaborative work, communication, creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem
solving, information and technology literacy, independence, flexibility and
adaptability in the professional and personal life. Indeed, the professor Tony
Wagner mentioned in his book Global Achievement Gap (2009) the seven 21st
Century skills every citizen must acquire, which can be used to promote innovative
practices in learning and teaching being the Effective oral and written
communication skill one of the most influential for me to make my students attain
these days.
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Ivonne Alexandra Londoo Leudo
In particular, the spoken discourse named by Cameron (2004) as the meaningful
use of language today is the main purpose in the 21
st
century school English as
second language curriculum of each either public or private, where the effective
articulation of ideas and thoughts using oral, written, verbal or non-verbal
communication takes place along with considering work as a team to fulfill the
projected outcomes.

From my point of view, the profound study of the four skills (Reading, writing,
speaking and listening) by the facilitators could boost the understanding of its
advantages and disadvantages in encouraging the acquisition, performance and
finally communication in a second language. As a result of, the integrated skills
with their insights will enable process of acquisition and learning.

On the whole, the role of the 21
st
century teachers is based on facilitating learning
using the collaborations of other teachers to improve their own practices; they will
take advantage of technology as a support in the classroom; these facilitator and
participant will use multiple forms of assessment plus guiding their students during
the learning process avoiding teachers talk but cheering students discussions.


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Ivonne Alexandra Londoo Leudo
In conclusion, a 21
st
century English teacher must plan heuristic classes where the
student has the freedom to learn from their own experiences besides, at its
learning pace and style, discovering the language rather than be always guiding by
the teacher, encouraging more exposure to the language and also more students
time to build their worlds representations; and the holistic learning of the four skills
is necessary because the language and its usage is a whole in real situations.













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Ivonne Alexandra Londoo Leudo
References:
Wagner, T. (2009). The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools
Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--And What We Can Do
About It. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Harmer, J. (2009). The Practice of English Teaching. New York, NY: Pearson
Longman.
University of Melbourne (2010). Draft White Paper, Defining the 21st Century
Skills. Retrieved from http://atc21s.org/index.php/resources/white-papers/.
Cameron, L. (2004). Teaching Languages to Young Learners. New York, NY:
Cambridge University Press.

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