Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Diminishing of the Dignity and Integrity of Teacher Due to the Modern Model of Education of the Industrial Era : The Business of Christian Education XCII

40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40
            Before the industrial era, before the massively organized formal education, teacher is a dignified profession.  The dignity of teacher is at a totally different level.  Students honor their teacher with the utmost respect.  Not everybody can take up the profession as teacher.  Teacher must be a person who has vast knowledge.  Teacher is a person with solid integrity.  If the wannabe teacher feels even the slightest feeling of inadequacy in knowledge and skill, then the person will not proceed to assume the position.  Teacher is held accountable for whatever is being taught.  That is why integrity must never be compromised.  With such high degree of difficulties, being teacher is
not everybody’s aim.  It is a highly complex craft, with very high ethical demand, inside and out.  Teacher is elevated far above the students in all facets of life.  Teacher cannot just know the information without he himself professes the knowledge.  It means that the teacher must live what he teaches.  Therefore, teacher is not a facilitator of information.  Teacher is much more than facilitating information.  Teacher guides students in the process of acquiring knowledge.  Teacher guides students in the process of applying knowledge into real life tasks.  Teacher guides students in the process of becoming good man.  Teacher has in his mind the betterment of all humanity.  The shaping of a functional and ethical community never leaves teacher’s purpose.  The establishment of culture and customs and statutes for the sustainability of the society becomes one of the most important goals that teacher must achieve.  Failure to do so will spell disaster for the society.  Therefore, given the seriousness of teacher’s duty, authority comes naturally with his dignity.

            But all that changes drastically as industrial revolution dawns in the world of man.  Everything becomes mass production.  The urgent need of producing anything fast and in great quantities becomes the main value.  Such need demands for efficiency and effectiveness.  Thus everything is organized based on the principles of efficiency and effectiveness of providing commodities in great quantities fast.  The need to train people to become operators of machinery, of management system of efficiency and effectiveness, dominates the world of education.  Thus knowledge and skill are organized in such a way as to meet the spell of efficiency and effectiveness.  Everything is sped up.  Production is sped up.  Professionals too are sped up.  Formal education is formed massively to meet the demand.  Curriculum is written to produce enough workers for the industrial demand, and to produce them fast enough to fill the need of workers.  Schools are founded in the speed of light.  Formal education realizes soon enough the lack of teachers.  They need more teachers.  They can no longer rely on the old model of dignity and integrity.  The old model takes too long.  It hampers the industrial need.  So something must be done.  The road toward becoming teacher must be tweaked.  Dignity is to be lowered a bit if teacher is to be produced in the speed of light.  People can no longer dwell in reflection of whether they have what it takes to become teacher.  The drive is no longer of integrity.  It is now a matter of filling the gap.  It is now a matter of grabbing opportunities.  Integrity is not helping the need to speed up.  Teacher has become one profession among many.  And it is just a means to an end.  But the end is not about creating functional and ethical community anymore.  Just one side is enough, functional.  Ethical person takes a long time to produce.  So gradually formal education no longer concerns itself with the teaching of ethics.  What’s more important is the knowledge and skill.  With the organization of knowledge and skill, workers do not need to know everything anymore.  They only need to know things within the scope of their profession.  The more complex the industry, the smaller the scope of each category.  Schools then is organized toward specialization.  More categories of specialists are being created.  Curriculum design becomes prominent.  The art of designing curriculum to make education and industry work is of high demand.  Curriculum becomes more important than teacher.  The production rate of teachers cannot cope with the industrial need and demand.  So another tweak is needed to produce more teachers fast.  With the elevation of curriculum above teacher, the need for teacher to be immersed in the knowledge and skill they are going to teach is no longer necessary.  The industrial model is then implemented completely in the world of formal education.  Teacher not only has lower dignity and integrity, but neither is needed anymore at this pace.  What is needed is teacher that is operator.  If in the factory workers operate machinery, in school teachers operate the curriculum.  As long as the curriculum is written in great detail and there is teacher’s manual to follow, teacher does not need to master the knowledge and skill of the discipline.  That is why dignity and integrity are not necessary anymore.  And ever since that time, teacher is no longer a dignified profession.  People treat it just as a job to put food on the table.  All teacher needs to do is to follow the manual and everything will be alright.  The power of knowledge is now in the hands of the curriculum designer.  And they do not need to be teacher either.  They only need to have the skill to organize information.

            With the downgrade, teacher has lost its once noble status.  It never recovers.  Besides, because it is just a job, then many unqualified people have become teachers.  True teachers are thrown into the mix with false ones.  The false act in a way that do not uphold the honor and dignity of teacher.  The world sees it and scorns the profession even more.  Teacher is now at the bottom of the pyramid.  Long gone the time when teacher may walk with dignity on the street, the students greet them with respect, even though teacher possesses little earthly wealth, but teacher possesses the future, but such time is gone.  Now, teacher is even more scorned.  Because of the detailed curriculum provision, teacher is dispensable.  All schools need is someone who can read and follow the manual, and he can be teacher.  The world does not care anymore of teacher with integrity.  Then comes the era of child centered education or student centered education.  Teacher has no value anymore anyway.  So education has to find meaning in something.  Curriculum is already available.  The trend is to continue to accumulate knowledge based on the new findings.  But the organization of the information must be designed in a certain way.  Since the aim is the production of workers in the industrial world, what makes sense more than to organize it based on those who are going to graduate as workers?  They call workers as professionals now.  And so all curriculum is organized based on the students’ need.  For sure, all educational studies are geared toward understanding students.  How they learn, how they behave, how they use the knowledge and skill, and so on.  Combine this knowledge with the findings in the industrial demand, and voila we got the curriculum that sells.  Pretty soon schools advertise that their graduates are successful graduates in the workplace.  No longer is the aim to make good man.  The aim now is to make functional professionals.

            When it comes to assessment, teacher nowadays is afraid of evaluating students.  The industrial model shifts the attention to the demand of the market.  In the school factory, the market is the students.  The production is functional professionals.  The dream is to become functional professionals that will secure jobs and decent life.  And in recent generations, lifestyle is added to the dream.  Therefore, schools now bow to students.  The child centered curriculum is extended to the policy for teacher to always accommodate students.  No longer teacher holds the authority over students, but students now own the authority over teacher.  The current model of education requires teacher to be evaluated by the students.  In the name of feedback, students are now given the tool of power that can determine the rising and fall of teacher.  Opportunistic teacher exploit this system by “bribing” their students.  The bribe is simple, that is to make students feel good and happy.  As long as they like the teacher, the teacher receives good evaluation.  Good evaluation means secure job.  Gone is the day when teacher stands in integrity.  The love of truth is replaced with the fear to lose one’s job.  Teacher now fears to offend their students.  And students understand that they hold power in their hands.  They do not give proper respect anymore to their teacher.  For them teacher must teach them because they are paid.  It is their job.  Long time ago, teacher chooses the students.  Nowadays, students choose their teacher.  Long gone the day when teacher in integrity holds the authority to promote or discipline the students.  Discipline is now extinct.  Jesus says that “a disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  Modern education model of the industrial era has made students the king.  As king they are always above the teacher.  Teacher is now their slave.  Their slave to achieve their goal.  Instead of students becoming like the teacher, now teacher conforms himself to the demand of the students.  Instead of students being formed and shaped by teacher, teacher is now shaped and formed by students.  So teacher evaluates students with the motivation to make their students happy, hoping that in turn they will give good evaluation for him too.  But let me tell you a secret, most students won’t return the favor.  They will say whatever is in their heart and mind.  Deep down they know that they hold the power.  Besides, most of them pay the tuition fee.  In their mind, teacher is paid to teach, so good day or bad day, teacher must teach.  In the end of the day, it is just a simple business transaction.  Customers pay, sellers provide the product the customers buy.  If the customers are not satisfied, the sellers are forced to change the product to suit the customers’ demand.  Since teacher is dispensable in the industrial era, thus he can easily be replaced by yet another person who can read and follow the manual.

            Teacher’s dignity and integrity?  What dignity?  What integrity?  Teacher in the industrial era is just another commodity.  Depending on the business transaction their value is being determined.  Their worth depends solely on the market demand.  The higher the demand, the more worth the product value is.  Currently, science and technology is at the top of the pyramid.  So their worth is high.  But ethics, spirituality, religion, and the like are at the very bottom of the pyramid.  They are not worth anything anymore.  Little do they know that those knowledge are the most important in the formation of the human self – which in turn forming the society.  Advanced knowledge is in high demand, so anyone holding the secret to advanced knowledge is highly regarded.  But basic knowledge is considered worthless, because it is considered common and public domain already.  So even though there is still need for teacher that teaches basic knowledge, this kind of teacher is at the very bottom layer of the lowest level pyramid.  Little do people know that basic knowledge holds the key to how the mind is structured.  In the industrial era, basic knowledge does not require teacher.  What is required is an operator who can just follow the manual.  The curriculum is written in great detail already.  Just by following it, one can pass on the information to the students.  No wonder, teacher is now mostly understood as facilitator of information.  If that is the case, google probably does a better job than teacher.

            That is how confused and damaged the world of education now.  The industrial revolution devastates the structure of education.  But true teacher is always here.  Every now and then the world will witness teacher who stands on integrity with dignity that rarely shows in the world.  But such teacher will not be popular.  This kind of teacher will be persecuted because he stands with the truth.  He is the guardian of the secret of heaven and earth.  But the world doesn’t like this guardian.  Because the world wants to maintain the status quo.  They want the power to stay with them.  There is no way they will give the authority back to teacher.  In the power struggle in the world, majority often wins.  Since true teacher is the rarest of all jewels, majority got their say, and true teacher is crucified from time to time again.  This creates a vicious cycle.  True teacher has become like an endangered species now.  His appearance is rarely sighted.  Just like a snow leopard, very rarely comes out.  When it does, it is gone very fast too.  True teacher goes into hiding too.  He is rare.  If he comes out too long, the world desires either to conform him into their mold, or to crucify him.  So he cannot stay.  But he is here.  And the ultimate teacher is always here.  Jesus Christ is always here.  He teaches the world with the eternal truth through his servants – true teachers.  His sheep listen to his voice and follow him.  But the wolves will continue to attack and attempt to devour the sheep.  The wolves lurk in the dark trying to catch the true teacher.  But true teacher comes out to teach boldly so that their true students will have the integrity and dignity as that of the ultimate teacher.  The path of the true teacher is hard and difficult.  Such is the narrow path of true teacher.

No comments: