Who are you?!

One of the resources I am reading for my final project is ” how to teach English”. It’s an amazing book by J Harmer. While I was reading, I thought of different teacher roles in face-to face settings. The book elaborates different teacher roles depending on the activity students do.

Teacher’s roles:

1- Controller: This happens when teachers assume their positions at the front of the class explaining concepts, dictating things etc…

2- Prompters: when teachers encourage students to do more, give them feedback, etc…

3- Assessors: when they tell students how well they did or give grades

4-Resource: when students ask teachers about ambiguous information, consult them, etc…

5- Tutor: when teachers act as advisers on what to do next

I thought of all these different roles assumed by “good” teachers in face-to-face environments and thought, does that happen in online learning? Can a teacher in virtual settings provide all these roles?

I think all these roles can be assumed by teachers online except the controller because online learning is a control-free zone. Students are driven to study because they have priorities in their lives and want to fulfill them, other than that teachers act as facilitators to students in virtual environments. Students have much control and power over their learning pace. Students in online learning take the controller role instead of their teachers. But, do online teachers assume more roles than face-to-face settings?  Do they assume fewer roles due to the virtual nature?

I am really taken by the difference and the advantages of online learning versus face-to-face settings as two of my colleagues were excited when they knew that I am doing my degree online. They took the decision to do their degrees online taking me as a role model! Online learning is not that much of a popular thing in Egypt especially due to the importance of credibility. Many universities in Egypt do not approve degrees taken online or from foreign universities that’s why we have to go through a long process to have an equivalent degree to that of Egyptian universities. Now, many Egyptian students are going for online learning, it’s less costly than actually traveling. For me, my online degree is much cheaper than the actual travel to Canada.

I usually teach face-to-face, though I tried virtual teaching. I find face-to-face teaching more enjoyable and tiring because you can see students’ expression and when you are putting them into bed!



  1. It’s interesting to hear of the (continued) negative views of online learning – I really much of it is about fear and ignorance. Doing online learning well is difficult, but so is doing face-to-face learning well. However, studies have shown, online learning compares well to traditional modes, and in some cases, is superior.

    Thanks for the post.

    • I do agree with you Dr. Courosa about that in terms of benefit. The first time I took an online course I thought I am not going to make it. It was so much difficult. I had to do many things and read many chapters. But, I benefited a lot from this experience and I am a true advocate of online learning though I like face-to-face more 😀

      • HI –
        yes, my first on line classes were really difficult as well. As this is my third class, I am finding that I am more comfortable with the structure and understand what I need to do to be successful.

        It is interesting to hear that on-line compares well to traditional… but I think just like in a face to face situation, it really depends upon the instructor.

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