[LETTERS to the editor]A remedy for bad teachingThe editorial on March 14, “No respect for teachers,” clearly articulated the lack of respect for teachers from parents of students nowadays. As the author stated, problems concerning the current educational system such as the unstable status of private school teachers are behind the disrespect for teachers. However, in my personal perspective, the real problem beneath the issue is the advent of an information-oriented society, and it should be solved with a teacher rating system.
Before the information age took effect in the educational sector, most teachers were able to dominate academic information by owning their knowledge sources, such as teachers’ manuals. As a consequence, students and their parents were respectful to teachers, in order to learn from them. However, as the information age began to influence the educational sector, a shift in informational power occurred. Students could obtain their academic information from the Internet, educational institutes and tutors. Teachers could no longer dominate the source of academic information and lost “informational power.” Hence, students and their parents do not have to rely on the knowledge the teachers have. Moreover, since the teachers had little need for more income, they did not study to accumulate more academic knowledge. As a consequence, students continued to lose respect for teachers who taught pointless lectures, and their authority declined.
In order to promote the status of teachers, it is important to continue with a teacher rating system. In fact, no one can stop the progress of the information age. Today, students are able to obtain academic knowledge through Internet lectures, even in remote regions. As such, knowledge is accessible to everybody. In this position, the most efficient way to strengthen the authority of teachers will be to for them to be more competitive. In other words, to adopt the teacher rating system would be a way for teachers to survive in the information age and gain respect. So far, 48 elementary, middle and high schools have adopted a teacher rating system. This system, as a matter of fact, is behind other teacher rating systems in other developed countries, such as the United States and Japan. Moreover, their teacher rating systems are quite harsh. For example, in 2003, 149 teachers resigned in Tokyo. Hence, teachers there have no choice but to be competitive in order to keep their jobs. If the system took place in schools more broadly and strictly, it would certainly improve the quality of teaching, and teachers will gain respect from students and parents, since the teachers have more productive information than other sources.
by Bae Seung-ho