In the modern, globalised world education is commercialized. Each students are considered as customers. And in the commercialised world a customer is the king. Can we (teachers) really do our duties to guide a student in the right path if we consider them as customers?
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I disagree with your premise. I do not think the students are the customer; rather, they are the product we are producing. The customer is the society which designed the desired product and which pays us, as teachers, to produce it.
Right now society is ordering products that can pass standardized tests. We don't like it, because A) it forces us to retool our methodology, B) we're pretty sure that the customer will not be happy with how their desired product actually functions in the workplace after they receive it, and C) we're human beings and resistant to change just like everybody else.
I would be horrified to see education begin to function like a business. Industrial efficiency (developed through rejection of improperly processed components) translated into what kind of reaction to students with special needs? Output quotas (the basis for determining employment needs) related to number of classes required and number of students per class per teacher per day? No, thank you!
I have actually been thinking for several years that if the education system (in America anyway) was run more like a service industry, selling a product and considering our students as customers, it would probably have more success.
This isn't to say students would be more powerful in the classroom. It is more to say that students needs would drive teacher approach more than government mandated skills and test scores. Furthermore, if there was a way to put a price on the product (education), we'd be much more apt to make meaningful improvements, hire and pay teachers based on merit, and would likely become more globally competitive in our pre-collegiate education.
It is ironic to me that many of America's colleges and universities are arguably some of the best world-wide, yet, our highschools (and down) suffer as a system which is too large to be micromanaged (by politicians, no less).
While I agree that teachers should always act with the best interests of the students in mind, I find the idea that the student/consumer is "in charge" to be almost antithetical to the learning process. How does a student know what they need to know? How does a student know which type of assessment would best reveal a level of competency over material? How does a student define success? Ultimately, those in the know (teachers) have to be the "king" of the give and take relationship that is education.
I must admit that I have never looked at the education system in that way. I agree with accessteacher though; giving students that much power is frightening.
On the other hand, good customer service is all about providing the customer with the best possible treatment. Hopefully, all teachers treat their students this way. That being said, a customer has very different expectations than another (not very different from students). Some customers require less than others to satisfy them (again, very similar to students).
My only fear would be those who "call" the company to get more for less. In that case, students would suffer and be trying to take advantage of the system (have too much power).
Great question. It will be interesting to see how this develops, especially as colleges for example become more and more like businesses rather than educational establishments. I think that having our students as "king" as you put it is a terrifying thought! Giving them too much power will, in my view, make our job of actually teaching them increasingly difficult, as there will be a loss of respect and trust.
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