Meeting the challenge of a changing teaching environment: Harmonize with the system or transform the teacher's perspective

R. G. Tiberius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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, like books or pictures. Teachers who are guided primarily by the Performance Role view themselves as agents who make 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. And 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 take place slowly and are typically attended by strong emotions. I end this paper with advice to teachers regarding ways they can harmonize with the educational system or face the challenge of perspective transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-442
Number of pages10
JournalEducation for Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001


  • Practical advice
  • System
  • Teacher beliefs
  • Teacher responsibilities
  • Teacher roles
  • Teacher transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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