Human resources are the bane and the boon for any organization. We see that the push for business is to reduce the dependency on people, and push automation into every aspect of business. Will it be the same for teachers?
I actually talked with another (Korean) hagwon owner, and he was contemplating starting a hagwon without teachers. My interest was peaked: “How would that be possible?”. I listened carefully to his business plan which would come down to kids sitting in front of computer screens. I can understand the benefit of computers, but I am not sure if this kind of interface is the one we need for our kids.
My opinion at this point is that we will always need teachers, and allow them to use technology to leverage their ability to teach. Imagine robots teaching a language. O really! Enough people can immediately see that it is not going to happen. It is just another example of how Koreans view education, as if simple rote memorization (cause that is what these robots do) will make it all happen. Put that robot in a room of bored kids, and soon there will be no robot, or the kids find a way to hack it (and when they succeed, then the robot will have fulfilled its purpose).
Due to educational pressure, the amount kids need to study outstrips the natural tendency to learn, in most children. It is there that teachers fulfill a role into outmaneuvering stress and boredom that goes on in a classroom. I see that especially when I run low on juice. If I cannot bring up the energy to keep the kids going, the kids will quickly find ways to while their time away. A computer cannot do that. I still have to laugh at any jokes a computer can make, that was not first made by a person. Computers are not sentient in catching the telltale signs of stress and boredom, and turning it around, refocusing efforts on maybe something slightly different. That often does the trick. Then there are the stepping stones kids have to jump over, they always seem bigger than they are, and kids are reluctant to take them. An emphatic teacher picks up on that and can “show the way”.
Even with adults, and I would say, with adult seven more. Why would adults need teachers? They are self motivated, they understand the way of the world. Not quite. Adults get bored even faster than children. A good teacher needs to catch their attention all the time. I find teaching adults far more in need of energy and good humor than any group of kids. the younger they are the easier it goes, if you have the right mentality that is.
I feel many people, even teachers, misunderstand what is really required in a classroom, and how much it takes to do it well. How to balance the energy requirements to keep up the pace, without burning out in the middle of the week.
In my view, if we can make technology fun for the teacher to use, we can make technology work better in the classes. If it is fun for the teacher, the energy levels go up by themselves and than the teacher can keep up the pace in the classroom. That is the answer to a good use of technology in the classroom, make sure it is not a drag for the teacher on top of all the other drag they have to take care of. Enable the teacher to be a better teacher, rather than focusing on the students to be more “entertained”. That is technology that will make education better. And please, without the need for the teacher to spend 4 years studying computer science. Not all teachers can or are willing to do that.
How would you make class more fun with technology as a teacher?
PS: I see an increase in traffic to this site, but no idea where it is coming from. Thank you for your interest, but I am also running out of things to discuss, so if any of you might have a specific question, please send a mail to [email protected]