Teachers do not generally want to give control to their students. Teachers are instructed that the mark of a good teacher is that the teacher is in control of the class. (Taylor, 1987) The amount of control that teachers have in the class is often seen by the administration as a measurement of the quality of a teacher. Administrators are usually happy if a teacher never sends a student to the office and interpret this as proof that the teacher is in control and must be doing a good job. (Edwards, 1994)
Teachers are afraid of losing control if students have increased autonomy. Control is an issue with which many people in management have had to struggle. Although somewhat cyclic in its application, the business world has only in the last couple of decades really accepted the idea that central control may not be the best choice of management. The management systems of the U.S. military are also an interesting example. In the Vietnam war, the U.S. military was central office oriented. Most decisions were made at the Pentagon and White House. Even tactical decisions regarding the battlefield were often made on a table in Washington, D.C. If this style were compared to the management style of the Gulf War in 1991, it would be obvious that the U.S. military currently accepts that local control and autonomy are a better management style.
Teachers fear that students with more control will not want to learn what the teacher wants to teach. This is Theory X type thinking. An examination of McGregor's (1967) Theory X and Theory Y would help teachers to understand that students want to learn. If the barriers to their learning were reduced, then students will of their own intrinsic nature will want to learn. The role of a teacher is to facilitate and help remove those barriers. It should not be the role of a teacher to assume responsibility for the motivation of the student.