Publication details

Advisor, Counselor, Mentor, Coach - What Should We Call Ourselves?



Year of publication 2020
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Language Centre

Description Language educators committed to promoting learner autonomy often take on various roles which can be dramatically different from received beliefs (either their own or their students’) about what a teacher is. Although the word “teacher” can encompass a wide spectrum of roles, various forms of autonomous learning might require more precise and more descriptive titles for certain roles. There are many alternatives to the word “teacher” to consider (“advisor,” “coach,” “counselor,” “facilitator,” “guide,” “mentor,” etc.) but how can a team of teachers decide which of these to use in which situations, considering the many complicated influences (such as culture, language, and personal connotations) on how they and their students perceive these words? In this article I briefly review some insightful discussions on the connection between teachers’ roles in autonomous learning and the terms used to describe these roles, and then suggest some practical activities designed to help teachers uncover unexpected associations and prejudices hidden in the words they use to define themselves. I focus especially on the role which has been variously called “language counselor/counsellor” or “language advisor,” discussing some of the factors my colleagues, my students and I have considered as we have debated possible titles for this role in the Masaryk University Language Centre’s “English Autonomously” course.

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