AMEE Guide No 20: The good teacher is more than a lecturer - the twelve roles of the teacher
Teaching is a demanding and complex task. This guide looks at teaching and what it involves. Implicit in the widely accepted and far-reaching changes in medical education is a changing role for the medical teacher. Twelve roles have been identified and these can be grouped in six areas in the model presented: (1) the information provider in the lecture, and in the clinical context; (2) the role model on-the-job, and in more formal teaching settings; (3) the facilitator as a mentor and learning facilitator; (4) the student assessor and curriculum evaluator; (5) the curriculum and course planner; and (6) the resource material creator, and study guide producer. As presented in the model, some roles require more medical expertise and others more educational expertise. Some roles have more direct face-to-face contact with students and others less. The roles are presented in a 'competing values' framework-they may convey conflicting messages, e.g. providing information or encouraging independent learning, helping students or examining their competence. The role model framework is of use in the assessment of the needs for staff to implement a curriculum, in the appointment and promotion of teachers and in the organization of a staff development programme. Some teachers will have only one role. Most teachers will have several roles. All roles, however, need to be represented in an institution or teaching organization. This has implications for the appointment of staff and for staff training. Where there are insufficient numbers of appropriately trained existing staff to meet a role requirement, staff must be reassigned to the role, where this is possible, and the necessary training provided. Alternatively, if this is not possible or deemed desirable, additional staff need to be recruited for the specific purpose of fulfilling the role identified. A 'role profile' needs to be negotiated and agreed with staff at the time of their appointment and this should be reviewed on a regular basis.