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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 433-442

Meeting the Challenge of a Changing Teaching Environment: Harmonize with the System or Transform the Teacher's Perspective

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Richard G Tiberius
University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Centre for Research in Education, University Health Network, 200 Elizabeth Street, 1 ES 583, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C4
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The beliefs that teachers hold about the appropriate roles and responsibilities of teachers shape the ways they teach and the ways they think about teaching. In this paper I describe four teaching roles based on a taxonomy that I've recently developed. Teachers who are guided primarily by the Content Expert Role view themselves as experts who serve as resources, lik e book s or pictures. Teachers who are guided primarily by the Performance Role view themselves as agents who mak e learning happen by transmitting information or shaping students. Teachers guided primarily by the Interactive Role view themselves as guides who facilitate learning by interacting with learners. A nd teachers guided primarily by the Relational Role view themselves as engaged in relationships with learners for the purpose of helping them. Using examples taken from the health sciences I explain how each of the four teaching roles might succeed or fail depending upon the position that it occupies within a teaching - learning system. When teaching is viewed as part of a system, not as something a teacher does to a learner, teachers are successful if their particular contribution to the system is essential to the learning system. I also describe the process whereby teachers expand their belief system to include more roles. Such changes in belief systems are major shifts that qualify as "perspective transformations''. Perspective transformations tak e place slowly and are typically attended by strong emotions. I end this paper with advice to teachers regarding ways they can harmoniz e with the educational system or face the challenge of perspective transformation.

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