Using a case-based approach engages students in discussion of specific scenarios that resemble or typically are real-world examples. This method is learner-centered with intense interaction between participants as they build their knowledge and work together as a group to examine the case. The instructor's role is that of a facilitator while the students collaboratively analyze and address problems and resolve questions that have no single right answer.

I cannot make heads or tails of the bold part, especially Italic one. What does that of a something mean?


That is a very overworked word, because it has at least three distinct uses:

  1. As a subordinating conjunction

    John said that he would play the role of facilitator.

  2. As a relative pronoun

    Facilitator is the role that John played.

  3. As a demonstrative adjective or pronoun

    a. That role is the one which John played.
    b. That is what John did.

In your example, that is employed in use 3b: it acts as a demonstrative pronoun, and its referent (the entity it refers to) is the noun phrase The role:

  The instructor's role is    that    of a facilitator.
  The instructor's role is [the role] of a facilitator. 

While does not belong to this clause; it is a subordinating conjunction which introduces the following clause and defines its relationship to the preceding main clause. Its literal meaning is "at the same time as", but it carries a contrastive sense as well, emphasizing that in this "learner-centered" approach the instructor's role is reduced and the students themselves perform much of his traditional teaching role.

These are the terms employed in the traditional grammar which you are most likely to have encountered. If you have enjoyed a Thoroughly Modern approach to English grammar you may know these as 1. complementizer, 2. relativizer, 3. determiner, and 3b. fused-head determiner; and you may have been taught that while acts as a preposition.

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