In extreme cases this could afford a method of imparting knowledge where formerly there were none. (Mac Arthur, 248)
Thus it is evident that the modern teacher cannot be away from the influence of technology and it is time that teachers are technically trained, and they are also made aware of the use of modern data processing methods which will enable them in assessing students and understanding their own potential and role. As with all industries these problems are also the foundations for unions to call in the status quo. Because the modern technologies.
(c) Teachers Unionization
The unions for the teachers have unfortunately blocked their own progress. Unions though a great means of collective bargaining interfere in the progressive measures which include programs to enhance the teacher's proficiency and effectiveness. Thus there is a problem of the 'parent collective' and the teachers unions and the educational institutions. Though there is autonomy of institutions larger decisions often involve the negotiation with the unions. The recent move in Columbia to make the teaching effective with the voucher plan for example gives greater say to parents. This will ensure that the teacher is dedicated to the job. Thus the initial voucher plans for the children in the District of Columbia which were funded by the government have for example given teeth to parents in education. (Berlau, 23)
While the unions are opposed in the linking of pay to performance in the case of teachers, there are a lot of things to be sorted out in this issue. The performance-based pay package for the teacher is actually a varied complex issue according to Victor Lavy. (Lavy, 87) Victor did a study of schools in Israel where the pay for performance schemes were implemented and reports that the results were telling. Thus though all teachers were in theory eligible for incentives, incentives in this scheme were offered to those meeting standards previously set. Thus one group argues that to make the teacher effective pay should be based on performance. (Lavy, 87)
The unions mostly are raking up issues for political mileage and this seriously impairs the quality of not only education but also of teachers. That unions were involving teachers in their political agenda was evident when the IRS charged "that the NEA is illegally making use of funds which are tax-exempt for the purpose of political activity." This is in the wake of the Democratic Party documents showing that NEA is a 'campaign which was coordinated by the party in the year 1996.' The unionism has not affected all teachers. The NEA's agenda is making teachers turn away from it because it involves opinions on international issues not involved with teaching. The AAE and its coalition have 250,000 members, and are not into collective bargaining, on the other hand offer liability-insurance policies and scholarships for teachers. There is also the suggestion of a voucher system where the teacher will be assessed by the parents. This may benefit the good teachers. (Berlau, 25)
That these problems do not escape the notice of teachers is evident from the protests of the teachers who wish to be devoid of union compulsions. Teachers are critical of the unions. For example "public-school teachers are opposing the unions that claim to represent them on issues ranging from alleged misuse of member dues for political activity to union insistence on 'politically correct' curricula." (Berlau, 26) Thus with parental rights teachers are calling for teachers right to be devoid of union harassment. Thus there is a division on the issue and while unions provide for insurance, and other group benefits, they must not enter into the very root of the education system. Freedom of expression without compulsions must be guaranteed to the teachers.
(d) The influence of women in teaching
There are lost of women teachers in all communities. In fact women tend to take to teaching as a vocation more than men. However the issues that confront male teachers in the school are also present for the female teachers in the same ratio. Thus they also have to be technically skilled, and oriented to the modern teaching methods. Earlier women were relegated to the kindergarten and the primary schools. Now they are in high positions in academic institutions including research institutions and have a role in the formulation of education policies. Thus from the school 'marm' of the old system women are now the main stay in education in most countries. The distinction between the male teacher and the female teacher lies in the reach women have on the marginalized children and therefore the teaching of these groups who cannot attend school is a speciality that has to be developed in willing women teachers. (Apple, 111)
Thus the technology of today enables women at home take a shot at "home schooling to have virtual but still intimate emotional connections." (Apple, 111) There is evidence of social disintegration, with the loss of the "common school and the teacher education programs" and there is a move aimed at 'retraditionalization' with individualism being more asserted. (Apple, 111) Home schooling has come to stay especially in cases where the child is disadvantaged. It is there that Michael W. Apple lays stress on the role of women educators. It is his opinion that teacher education must be available for women, not only the professional teacher at school, but also those who care for the disadvantaged and are engaged in schooling either at home or in the community. It is urged that this ought to be considered seriously. (Apple, 111)
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