The Functions of a Teacher Critical Summary

This is a new topic that Bertrand Russell has chosen in his essay The Functions of a Teacher and its critical summary by Bertrand Russell will tell about what are real functions of the teacher. In this essay, Russell tells us what is the real function of the teacher and what he has been performing nowadays, in Russell’s point of view, teachers are not performing their duty rather they are puppets in the hands of government as well as their employers. They are not so free that they openly educate their students and what is reality. As we know that teaching is a sacred profession as well as a passion.  That days have gone when a teacher was considered to be the safeguard of civilization.  Nowadays he has concerns with his only personal benefits.  As far as his passion is concerned that professional is also dead.  A teacher can perform his duty if he is free intellectually but unfortunately, nowadays teachers have been tools of propaganda, he has to teach what his employers want. This is the main reason that he is bound to do so. In this sense, a teacher has to instil prejudices and wrong beliefs in his teaching. On the contrary of it,  in ancient times, that did not exist, the teacher was very much free from authority and he could teach what he wanted, no doubt is that in ancient times some philosophers had to pay a price in exchange for their beliefs and doctrines. For example , Socrates was sentenced to death and Plato went to Jail for their ideas but these  did not resist their work.

 In modern time , a teacher is a servant of estate or employers.

“The teachers have no authority to decide what shall be taught or what the methods of instruction are to be.”

The Functions of a Teacher Critical Summary:-

 Now, will discuss the essay ” The Functions of a Teacher Critical Summary” A teacher is bound to teach state education, it is not wrong to say that estate education is necessary for a man but sometimes, his may be harmful to humanity, its consequences have been seen in history, history page was printed  by this creed, actually state education spreads dogmas and creed,

“The only way to prevent totalitarianism in our highly organized world is to secure a certain degree of independence for bodies performing useful public work, and among such bodies, teachers deserve a foremost place.”

in past, Hitler had done this, he installed a dogmatic creed in his young people. Dogmatic creeds bring about ignorance, and it engulfs the method of free discussion.

The Real Purpose of the Teacher Defence against Dogmatism:-

The teacher’s main function is to prevent dogmatism in society, it is bad luck for humanity if dogmatic beliefs spread everywhere and these beliefs would win the war and new ideas have taken their last breath in the lap of dogmatism. Dogmatists are giving the lesson of hatred against one another, which is common in modern times. So, in the end, this is the main duty of the teacher.

The Basic Duties of  Teachers:-

Comes to see that, usually, teachers are indulged in political parties or some religious parties, it is very common for these beliefs to come into their students. In fact, Russell is a keen opponent of it, he says that a teacher‘s duty is that he should create an ability in his student which is impartial investigation. Actually, Russell talks about the scientific approach as well as scientific thoughts. What is wrong and what is right, it should be on the student’s own thoughts, not creed belief. The teachers should not instil any dogma or prejudices of any privatization or government in their students. He should see both sides of the picture.

The Teacher is the Guardian of civilization:-

It is a teacher who is the guardian of the cilvization because he knows that very well about civilization than any other person. They should introduce civilization before their pupils

The function of a teacher, however, is not merely to mitigate the heat of current controversies. He has more positive tasks to perform, and he cannot be a great teacher unless he is inspired by a wish to perform these tasks. Teachers are more than any other class the guardians of civilization. They should be intimately aware of what civilization is, and desirous of imparting a civilized attitude to their pupils.”

But here is a question what is civilization?

Civilization, Mind  Setting:-

As far as civilization is concerned any country could not be judged by its progressive attitude, maybe a country is going on progress but it cannot called be a civilized country. Civilization is not meant, a country has so many motor cars, bathrooms, machinery, so many building and so on. However, civilization is totally different from it, it is a mindset, it is positive thinking, it is primarily connected with knowledge, emotions etc. As far as knowledge matter is concerned, it is key to inquiry, with the help of knowledge a man can understand what is wrong and what is right. What has been done in past, and what will be in future? So far as emotions are concerned, a man adopts the ability that he is not the only man in this world rather others are present who want also comfort, in this way, he never thinks about himself, and his self-centred belief does not alive. With the help of emotions and knowledge, a teacher should do his work as well as his real duty.

A well-known teacher  has the ability,

Overworked Teachers:-

There are so many teachers that are not performing their real function because behind it there are so many reasons.  First many teachers are given to overworked for preparing examinations instead of lightening their minds. Their students are prepared for jobs, for gaining marks rather than liberalizing minds.

“Most teachers are overworked and are compelled to prepare their pupils for examinations rather than to give them a liberalizing mental training. The result is that many of them become harassed and nervous, out of touch with recent work in the subjects that they teach, and unable to inspire their students with a sense of the intellectual delights to be obtained from new understanding and new knowledge.”

Curbs on Teachers’ Freedom of Thought:-

Secondly,  the teachers are bound to conceal their right opinion, they are not enough free to openly discuss what is a correct opinion and what is wrong. In this result, the students are misled by their wrong guideline.

A  Teacher‘s  Functions  to  Create  the Spirit of Tolerance:-

There is no doubt that democracy is very much acceptable all over the world but the teacher’s role is significant and cannot be refused because it is a teacher who creates an ability of tolerance in his students, in this world, there are so many people that they have different opinions, different outlooks, but it is a real teacher function is that he should nourish the quality of tolerance I his students. A man who is not accustomed to travelling or who has no experience of a journey actually falls prey to intolerance because he has no idea of dealing with people and their valuable norms and manners, he will consider his beliefs and ideas are on the right path rather others are on the wrong direction. These things make the cause of dogmatism in this world. These things can be cleared up by tolerance and tolerance comes out only education and a man educates by only a teacher. Unfortunately, in our school system tolerance is not learning, only nationalism and people of other countries are inferior are being taught there.

Eradicate of Interference  in  the  Work of Teacher:-

It is wrong to say that only teachers are ignorant of their functions while there are so many hurdles on their way that do not do proper work. Today teachers are not very independent than the past. Nowadays the teachers are hostages in a lot of shackles that cannot be broken in a very easy way. They do not decide what should he teach and what should not. Even though they can’t adopt their method of teaching.

“The teachers have no authority to decide what shall be taught or what the methods of instruction are to be.”

Here, Russell suggests that a teacher must be free in their decision, liberty is by birthright but unfortunately, there are a lot of authorities who are using them.

“The only way to prevent totalitarianism in our highly organized world is to secure a certain degree of independence for bodies performing useful public work, and among such bodies, teachers deserve a foremost place.”

A teacher can do his function if he will be free by mind otherwise he will be the only toll of the government or any other authority. The essay “The Functions of a Teacher” reveals that it is not only a critical summary but also a complete functions of a teacher.

 Regardless of how feasible or otherwise Russell’s ideas on the role of a teacher may be, we do not, and perhaps cannot, have ‘his teacher’ in our educational institutions today. Affirm or refute with evidence from his works, especially ‘Unpopular Essays’. (2012)


Q.        Can we check the social, economic and political decline if we succeed in making our teachers impartial and neutral in the real sense of the word? Elaborate with reference to Russell’s ‘Unpopular Essays’. (2010)


Q.        What are the practical difficulties in employing ideal teachers and how can they be overcome? Discuss with reference to Russell’s ‘Unpopular Essays’.



Q.        Russell’s views on teaching and education have been of immense use down the years. Elaborate with special reference to his ‘Unpopular Essays’. (2007)


Q.        What safeguards does Russell suggest against a teacher’s becoming a tool in the hands of government and how far are they adequate?

                                                                                   (P.U. 2003)


Q.        What functions does Russell recommend for the teacher? Do you find it viable in our own society?

            (P.U. 2005)


Q. Russell’s views on teaching and education have been of immense use over the years. Elaborate with special reference to his ‘Unpopular Essays’. (P.U. 2007)


Q.        What are practical difficulties in employing an ideal teacher, and how can they be overcome, discuss with reference to unpopular essays.

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