The role of the teacher

Wood, Ruth, Jackson, Claire, Bayliss, Sandra and Usher, Nick (2021) The role of the teacher. In: Maisey, Daryl and Campbell-Barr, Verity, (eds.) Why do teachers need to know about child development? Strengthening professional identity and well-being. London, U.K. : Bloomsbury. pp. 127-142. ISBN 9781350084940


The teacher’s role may be perceived and described in many ways. It is possible that emphasis is placed upon facilitating, supporting, leading and guiding the cognitive development of the learner. Skills, knowledge and understanding, which are embodied in curriculum documentation and presented according to subject relevance, are often foregrounded. The process of translating curricula such as this into practice is sufficiently challenging;, however, the preceding chapters highlight the multi-faceted role of the teacher, which extends beyond the measureable and more tangible outcomes of learning. In an age of supercomplexity, the teacher is amidst competing and often conflicting demands, which are difficult to navigate. As a moral practice, teachers will consider and respond to the needs and well-being of the learner not only contemplating how pupils might perform in assessments but also reflecting upon the needs and experiences of the pupil as an individual in their own right - collaborating and communicating with other professionals beyond the geography of the classroom and forging sustainable and productive links between home and school. At the core of such activity are teachers’ own values, and to gain a better understanding of these, this chapter examines the individual and the collective voice of teachers drawn from a range of practice settings. In so doing, this chapter explores the ways in which teachers conceptualizse and enact their role and the factors that influence their values, identity and practice.

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