The exigencies of the school require not only that teachers place restraints on children’s behavior in many different contexts, but also that the activities of the teachers and the roles of the parents be restrained by law and public opinion.
In other words, the fact that our educational situation is one in which an environment is specifically contrived so that what is good can be promoted and passed on points to the fact that there are conditions of order that must be obtained so that this overriding aim can be achieved. The following are the activities of a good teacher.
Schools such as all other governed societies must have rules that are framed for the protection of all members from each other’s excesses, provided that these rules do not go beyond what that consideration seems to justify. This is a good case for the exercise of authority by the teacher in the context of general behavior.
Teachers are to maintain order in the classroom.
Where the enjoyment of “freedom” by one pupil or group of pupils results in a limitation of the freedom of others through overuse of some facilities, for example, the making of excessive noise, running in the corridors, or any other behavior which is likely to endanger the safety of others or to create an atmosphere in which the ability of others to profit from the educational opportunities offered by the school is impaired, then the teacher excises his or her authority to apply restraints to promote a proper level of freedom for all.
Teachers are to recognize individual differences in children.
Even though teachers are to ensure that favorable learning conditions of order sufficient to permit a large number of children to work at the same in the classroom setting are enforced on students, they still need to give much encouragement to children within a classroom to follow their interests and to work at their own pace.
Teachers should encourage children to make their own decisions based on reasons they can justify instead of just following orders.
The overall objective of education should be to produce self-determining adults, on all issues. Education should not become indoctrination. Children should be brought up in such a way that they can acquire the habit of making their own decisions rather than merely responding to the dictates of others.
The choice that children are free to make has always to be exercised within a range of what is thought desirable.
It may at times be necessary for teachers to exert pressure on children so that they master something irrespective of what they want since sometimes children will not make sensible decisions.
If teachers want to encourage children to do what they want freely, they may do this after having harnessed the worthwhile content of education.
For purposeful teaching and learning to take place in an educational situation, teachers should compel children to attend school based on legal and societal requirements.
This, of course, is a way of working against the principle of the children’s free choice and action. Thus, learners often do not have much choice as to whether or not to participate in the classroom arrangements that teachers institute.
The freedom of the pupils is threatened principally in respect of self-directed and self-chosen learning.
If all learning is to be the outcome of an “instructional program” geared to the realization of pre-specified objectives then there can be no more room for choice, imagination, or idiosyncrasy in learning.
The teacher’s freedom is the most threatened by the possibility that the selecting of objectives and the testing of their achievement will be taken out of his crude hands and placed in those of the experts.
This could happen either under the guise of “help” or as a direct expression of distrust by administrations. Not only would the result curtail the teacher’s freedom, but it would do so very unfairly since many varying factors affect the degree of success that is possible with a particular set of circumstances.
Thus the school teachers even though they have a strong allegiance to the discipline in which they have been trained, they are concerned more specifically with education and less with developing the frontiers of knowledge as they would have loved to.
They are subjected to closer public supervision and have to prepare children for public examinations by syllabuses over which they have control. Although their freedom to interpret such syllabuses ( or syllabi) in their way is usually granted they often have to be much more mindful of the rather narrow requirements of examinations.
Teachers can enhance the freedom of children by increasing the range of experiences open to them.
The teacher’s concern is not to pump opinions into his students but to see to it that his students acquire the competence to form their own opinions.
The teacher only imparts to his students the form of thought using which the particular opinions which he holds about any substantive issue are arrived at.
Paradoxically, the teacher must exercise authority to promote freedom in children either by enhancing the range and scope of the choices open to the individual child or by developing in him the ability to make choices by means other than either plumping for something or acting according to prejudices, wherever and however required.
Promoting freedom in children is thus, a task of the teacher that he can only accomplish by the exercise of authority. This authority is provisional since if he is successful it will be progressively eroded until it disappears altogether.
The freedom of the child is increased by approaches such as discovery learning.
According to Bruner (1961), “There should be much freedom of choice, many chances to pursue interests, and rich opportunities for discovery and self-expression.”