New Insight: Roles of an Educator in Student Engagement

If you asked me a few years ago about the variety of roles of an instructor I could have told you two, they present knowledge and they evaluate. That was the depth of my knowledge into instructing. Wow, what a shock it was when I started instructing at the Okanagan College in the spring, and even more when I started the Instructor Diploma Program at VCC, just 2 months ago. What I have already learned in a short few months is amazing, instructors are amazing. I just can’t get enough information; I want to absorb ever piece of knowledge from my co-workers and my mentors. I love hearing about how they are using their roles as instructors to motivate students with fun, interactive learning activities in their theory classes or how they use the internet to find interactive slide show related to their courses to engage their students.

Instructors have control over the learning environment, the course materials, teaching strategies, learning activities, and assessments. The way these are designed and aligned influence student motivation (Ambrose et. al. 2010) and deeper engagement in learning (Biggs, 2003).

It is the role of an instructor to assess the needs and goals of their students. When expectations are clearly outlined by an instructor, students are more likely to be engaged in their learning. I have read this over and over again while doing my research for this assignment. It is my role as an instructor to take the time to build a rapport with my students, learn their goals, and skill knowledge, so I can use teaching strategies that can help me meet my student’s goals as well as my courses content. It is one of my roles to be a planner, to understand the different levels of student knowledge and take this knowledge in to the planning of my course, so I can help all my students be engaged during class.

In the CDA program it is common to have students with past employment in the dental field. We normally have one or two students a year that have taken the dental receptionist course or even a few students that have been working as chair-side assistants, these students are looking to further their skill levels and get certified. It is the role of an instructor to consider this previous experience when try to keep these students engaged. As an educator we are always assessing our students learning, giving feedback and guidance when needed. One of our main roles as an instructor is to facilitate our students in all aspects of learner. It may mean different things for different students.

The knowledge I have gained from my research on roles of instructors to engage students, has given me the awareness that there is no one way to teach students. They come from all different backgrounds of knowledge and have different goals for their outcome. Our roles as instructors varies from a planner, a motivator, an evaluator and a facilitator, this just to name a few. In the end, how we use our roles as instructors, how we design our courses and work to meet our student’s goals will determine how engaged our students are. I truly believe that Clement said it best with her line “it was a true passion for the subject, a desire to learn all about it, and a further desire to share that knowledge.”(Clement, M. 2014) There is nothing more rewarding then having an educator that loves their chosen profession. This may not be a role of an educator, but I truly believe students will be more engaged if they have an instructor who has a passion for their profession.


Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M, Lovett, M.C & Norman, M.K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass.

Barkley, E.F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.

Clement, M. (2014, November 21). Six Things That Make College Teachers Successful. Faculty Focus. Retrieved From

Isophere, (2014, May 6). Free digital photos. Retrieved from


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