Academic freedom for teachers stands for the approach they can take to teach students and conduct research, without being held back by any legislation or public pressure. This includes determining what to teach in class and how to do it, conducting academic research, discussing the findings with the colleagues and publishing the research. However, many educational institutes and authorities impose restrictions on teachers regarding the teaching method they can adopt. This negatively affects the teaching and learning standards of the class. Knowledge is power and it has been long established that knowledge comes from innovative learning techniques, instead of restricted modes.
What exactly is Academic Freedom?
Academic freedom ensures that teachers can teach subjects through their own approach. Regardless of the class standard or subject, they have the full authority to decide the curriculum to teach, how to test students according to the taught material and the volume of practicality to include during teaching. Today, this concept is an important part of German, French, British and American teaching cultures.
However, academic freedom doesn’t pertain to teachers bringing their own political or religious views in class. This also means teachers should abide by teaching only relevant course materials in class. In simpler terms, academic freedom doesn’t mean a teacher should teach, for example, something like the Earth is flat. They are supposed to remain professional inside the class and during any interactions with students outside it.
Why is Academic Freedom important and how does it help teachers and students?
To understand the importance of academic freedom, we will use the example of another profession. Let’s imagine you are a nurse. Your duties include catering to the needs of the patients, tracking their health progress, providing treatment and care, and administering the medications. Throughout your career, you are deemed to come across hundreds of diverse patients, all with different medical conditions. You know how to care for a patient suffering from diarrhea, you’ve done that before. But now a senior doctor asks you to provide the same medications to the person suffering from constipation. You are aware that both are different, but you cannot adapt. In the end, you provide the same treatment to the patient. The health progress? Worse.
Academic freedom is based on a similar concept. It gives teachers the independence to adapt according to the needs of students and subjects. Every topic cannot be taught in the same way, in every class. Instead, teachers need to adopt different teaching methods to cater to the intellectual abilities of every student. Academic freedom helps teachers to offer better insight into their subjects. This keeps them motivated to continuously upgrade their knowledge and expertise. They can also bring creativity and practicality in their teaching methods.
On the other hand, more and more students understand the course material as innovative teaching approaches caters to diverse minds. Students find it easy to ask questions, think critically and get involved in the class. Today, there is a reason why online learning resources are becoming better ways of learning than the actual classes. Students claim to find these resources flexible and more informative. If we talk about nursing students pertaining to our previous example, they prefer utilizing resources like online courses or NursingEssaysUK, to develop diverse knowledge of their field.
What challenges the Academic Freedom of Teachers?
As an experienced academic medical coursework writer The threats to the academic freedom of teachers mostly come from the management of their institutes. Globally, teachers are asked to follow strict curriculums each year that are developed by the seniors in the institutes or universities. Their job is only restricted to delivering lectures. Sometimes they are bonded by legislative authorities, like educational associations, to pertain to a certain style of teaching. Teachers are supposed to design their methods of teaching according to the examination pattern decided by the higher authorities. This is why rote-learning is common.
Therefore, legislative authorities and management of institutions should sit with teachers to collectively decide the curriculum to teach in class. It should also involve discussion regarding the method of teaching and the practical approach to adopt in class. The government should also pass bills and legislations to protect teachers from unfair attacks from the public or unnecessary restrictions from the management.