Is the teacher an instructor? If so, what is he to instruct? Is the process of instruction merely the filling of an empty vessel? This would imply that the children are passive recipients of the instruction process. Or can we attach a dynamic meaning to the concept of instruction? In this context, instruction is related to two-way communication where the teacher imparts contextually relevant (to the children) knowledge and skills to the class.
The next question to be asked is can the teacher instruct attitudes and values. The instruction of attitudes and values, i.e. which is to force the class to accept pre-determined, institutionalised and societally accepted attitudes and values is directly contradictory to the claimed value of democracy or democratic learning. Therefore, the duty of the teacher in the context of instruction of attitudes and values is merely to present to the children both sides of the arguments, including the pros and cons, possible repercussions and consequences of adopting a certain attitude of life.
The child should be left free to choose their own values and face the consequences for their action. Therefore, the scope of instruction is to present an impartial, unbiased view of the world and allow to students, to preserve their integral freedom of choice and equally importantly, their unique sense of self-identity.
With respect to knowledge and skills, there rests a responsibility with the teacher to empower the child to be productive in his lifetime. But even this responsibility is circumscribed by the individual interests, passion and vocational/occupational choice of each student. This is to say that teacher must introduce to the class a wide and diverse range of subject, topics, occupations, interests and hobbies. Furthermore, the teacher should give them the tools to discover what they cannot cover in class by themselves.
This way, the child retains the freedom to choose his own path rather than walk upon the pre-paved, monotone streams of engineering, medical, commerce etc.
Therefore, the function of instruction is to empower children with the knowledge and skills to do what they love, to determine and accept their own personal value set and thus, live free, independent lives.
(Thoughts and comments to Anay Nangalia – firstname.lastname@example.org)