Studiu de specialitate – Roles of teachers and learners in co-operative learning activities

Autor: prof. Daniela Incze
Școala Gimnazială „Ioan Opriș”, Turda, jud. Cluj

In the usual teacher-centred approach to language teaching, even if the teacher uses innovative techniques, the student is only an object of the teacher`s activity. The student is being led by the teacher and is dependent on the teacher. The student speaks, reads or writes, and may be involved in different kinds of activities, but it is the teacher who takes the initiative. The teacher is more active than the student.
In order to use co-operative learning techniques successfully, a radical change in the relationship between teacher and student is needed.
A classroom, where learning takes place, must be a pleasant environment. The activities cannot work unless there is a relaxed atmosphere. In such an environment learners become active managers of their own learning and the teacher becomes a counselor who creates an environment to promote autonomous learning.
In our attempts to make learners more responsible for their learning we do not take them by the hand through grammar exercises and verb tenses- we must work towards creating a collaborative and interdependent setting in the classroom, creating the conditions under which learning can take place, and motivating our students. So the role of the teacher shifts from the interpreter of the institutional materials to a language interpreter.
We need to alter the students` idea, and possibly our own of what the teacher is there for. We will no longer be the source of all knowledge, nor the sole arbiter of what is „right” and „wrong”, „good” or „bad”.
Perhaps the most important and difficult role the teacher has to play is that of an organiser. The success of many activities depends on good organization and on the students knowing exactly what they are to do. So the main aim of the teacher when organizing an activity is to tell the students what they are going to talk about (or write or read about), give clear instructions about what exactly their task is, get the activity going and then organize feedback when it is over.
It is essential for the teacher to plan exactly what information the students will need, to prepare the materials s/he needs (drawings, handouts etc…).  (fragment)