2.1.3. Multiple roles of teachers in literacy education

Building on what was shared above, it has been recognised that teachers and trainers now have an unique opportunity to prepare learners to function in a digital and global society. However, with that comes an increased demand on teachers/trainers to undertake a variety of roles and positions in order to provide well-rounded lessons that offer the highest possible learning opportunity for the student/participant. Teachers are now required to not only make pedagogical adjustments but to also build their own awareness and understanding of international development topics such as climate change and structural inequality along with building their cultural understanding of their learners’ backgrounds. Teachers are being encouraged to find ways of bringing their students’ backgrounds into the classroom in a respectful and meaningful way.

With this in mind, teachers and trainers have had to often take on the dual role of researcher and facilitator. Research has become fundamental and a growing area of interest for teachers, trainers and the institutions where they work. With new methodologies emerging, teachers are often being put in the position of needing to ‘upskill’ and to research further new emerging trends and practice. Learning to teach is a lifelong process, so it is essential to provide ongoing and meaningful opportunities for professional development for in-service teachers to foster advancement in their pedagogical expertise (Atay, 2008). Continual critical reflection on one’s own practice is promoted. One key area of interest regarding professional development is the desire for teachers to build their capacity to ‘modernise the classroom’ through the utilization of new technologies such as Virtual Reality and engaging with new social media trends such as ‘TikTok’. Teachers are now expected to prepare their learners for the digital world and support their students to keep up to date with new technologies. As outlined in module one, digital literacy is essential in enabling learners to operate effectively in contemporary culture. This in turn is placing huge pressures on educators to firstly build their own understanding of digital technology. One of the most prominent researchers and educators in this area is Mark Pegrum who states that “for our language teaching to remain relevant, our lessons must encompass a wide variety of literacies which go well beyond traditional print literacy. To teach language solely through print literacy is, in the current era, to shortchange our students on their present and future needs” (Pegrum et al., 2013).