Technology can’t replace real teachers

Technology can’t replace real teachers

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes lie awake at night wondering if today’s technology can make my role as an ESL teacher entirely and utterly obsolete. Do you too?

Today there are so many language learning apps out there such as Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Memrise, to name a few. But what do they indeed offer that is better than a teacher?

Did you know that you can summarise our roles into two simple words other than the “online teacher”? We are “educational technologists”! What a mouth full right? I think it sounds rather fancy!  I’d like you to think back to school days where we used transparencies on the overhead projector. Now, compare it to how you deliver lessons now… I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Technology can't replace real teachersNow, we can educate at a touch of a button. If technology has come so far, when will “human” teachers be wiped out? To keep my sanity, I decided to dive deeper and here is what I found.

Ed-Tech in fact only helps improve us as educators. Not only does it save us hours of time and lesson prepping, but it allows us to educate freely, instantly and as creatively as our heart desires and all that at a click of a button! So many schools are moving to tech ed, many schools now offer different subjects, with their teachers logging in from anywhere in the world and delivering a fun yet educational lesson. That means you have an expert at your fingertips. If you are anything like me aka you are bad at maths, how great would it be to have maths teachers just log in to a huge screen and teach your students? Yes, it’s happening people!  

But alas, just throwing technology at your student absolutely will not engage them. We are human after all, and no machine can give you that “human touch” that “human approval.” We are educators not only motivate our students, we love them, we cry with them, we battle with them and help them overcome study difficulties. We have warmth and compassion and that my fellow teachers are something a machine can never offer no matter how advanced it may be. You may have peace in that thought, I sure do!

So think about it like this:

  1. You have a beating heart, and a machine does not.

Technology can't replace real teachersYou offer something unique and valuable to your students, compassion, immediate and human guidance. We are all connected! What is human guidance? Humans can interfere or intervene immediately when they see you are moving in the wrong direction. A computer can not sense this, a computer cannot intervene and correct your pronunciation or intonation. In fact, a computer can not teach you the human skills needed to pass difficult job interviews, to speak proudly and confidently. A beating heart will always be more enticing than a cold metal machine who essentially if not affected whether or not you have failed or succeeded.

  1. Apps can not offer “engagement”, students will learn like parrots. There is no free talk and no immediate correction.
  2. Incorporating technology in your classroom gives you and your student instant gratification.

Don’t know what an airplane is? Well, here is a google image within seconds. Instant gratification releases “feel good” endorphins and thus your student will associate these feelings with you, the teacher. They will definitely be back for more!

Although there might be cons to technology, there are most definitely some benefits such as saving not only your time but also your hard earned cash. Need a lesson plan at a moments notice? Technology has your back! No money for expensive books or props? Don’t worry, technology will save the day. Technology has made it possible for us to teach without having to drag around excess baggage or even having to work in a cluttered space filled with books, stationery, and toys. Embrace technology, it saves you time and money! Embrace it, it’s not all that bad! 😉

What are your thoughts? Please share them below with me!

Technology can't replace real teachers

Technology can't replace real teachers

Hanette Lian Stimie

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