The teachers’ role in a diverse environment

A teacher is the leader and facilitator in the classroom that constantly impart knowledge, skills, evaluate and providing feedback that regulate children’s conduct, habit, attitudes and world view. His / her action has influence over the children on their self image and stereotypes towards the community.

The teacher plays an important role in the learning experience of the students, that encompasses the following functions (Kendall, 1996):

  • The role model – showing concern, respect for people around him.
  • Creating opportunities for the students to experience and develop their own values.
  • Encourages children to explore, to initiate, to inquire and actively involves in the learning process.
  • Active participant and companion that guide the children along the learning process.
  • Pass on the teacher’s value and attitudes on to the children both intentionally and unintentionally through his thought, speech, and actions.

[Image credit: My Malaysian Child Web, 2010]

The teacher shall diligently and faithfully perform his duty as educator without bias, prejudice and intolerance. Besides teaching the academic subject, he is required to instill values, moral, attitude and habits and avoid any conduct or activity that may infringe the children’s human right (Nightingale, 2007).

The Canadian Supreme Court had clearly spelt the code of conduct for teachers in their School Act:

  • Off duty conducts
    The School Act had written comment such as “Teachers occupy positions of trust and confidence, and exert considerable influence over their students as a result of their position. The conduct of a teacher bears directly upon the community’s perception of the ability of the teacher to fulfil such a position of trust and influence, and upon the community’s confidence in the public system as a whole (page 27) “. “By their conduct, teachers as “medium” must be perceived to uphold the values, beliefs and knowledge sought to be transmitted by the school system.” (page 28-29)

Hence, the teacher is expected to uphold virtues conduct during and outside school hours so that they may be perceived by the society as able and fit for their position and job.

  • Freedom of expression
    The teacher may have the freedom to think and holding views but cannot publicly proclaim discriminative view nor prejudice nor seriously undermine the rights and responsibilities of School Districts to maintain a positive learning environment, (Section 1, page 27)
  • Freedom of religion (page 24)
    The teacher may practice his own religion or faith without interfering the other to practice their religion. No students should be forced to attend religious exercises which is neither their own religion nor faith.

The teacher should avoid creating discrimination and tension in the learning environment.

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