A controversial question
At ELT English seminars, workshops and TESOL conferences, I am often asked whether I think computers will eventually replace English teachers. I flash back to the movie The Matrix. In an early scene, our neophyte hero “Neo” learns kung fu by being hooked up to a computer. A few hours later, he opens his eye, sits up and proclaims, “I know kung fu!” The following scenes show an older, more experienced mentor (aka the teacher) evaluating young Neo’s “skills”. “Show me,” the teacher typically asks. If you’ve been following me so far, you already have a clue as to my answer to this teacher’s question.
Computers replacing a human English teacher?
Are you kidding?
“No way, Jose.”
But English teachers, don’t relax completely just yet. I think we need to ‘reinvent’ part of the concept of ‘school’. Here’s what I mean.
Reinvent the concept of school
Schools at virtually every level need to be connected virtually and interactively to a variety of external resources. This means that the “traditional” boards, markers and OHP must give way to additional, integrated resources that expand the teaching environment in almost unlimited ways. I mean the works; Audio, video, web, webcams, IM, TXTing, chat, email, RSS, even real-time multimedia input feeds. The classroom and its students would be linked to additional resources such as:
• Government Entities
• Science, technology and medical centers
• Other educational institutions
In this way, students would be more likely to use learning activities such as webquests, interactive dynamics, and virtual tours to expand and deepen their knowledge of principles and concepts. Learners would no longer be limited to the knowledge, resources and facilities available at the institution where they are attending classes. Instead, the world is literally their classroom.
impact on learning
How would this directly affect learning? Well, if you’re learning computers, direct access to Microsoft Corp. materials and training would be great. not a real blessing? Technology students would undoubtedly derive tremendous benefit from direct connections to MIT (http://web.mit.edu/), Cal Tech (http://www.caltech.edu/) or Lucent Corp. (http://www.lucent.com/) Engineering students would benefit from access to NASA which can be found online at: (http://www.nasa.gov/home/index.html), Boeing (http://www.boeing.com/), Westing House (http://www.westinghouse.com/home.html), DuPont (http://www2.dupont.com/DuPont_Home/en_US/index.html) or a multitude of other high-tech companies.
Law, government, human rights, and political science students would be at the top of their game, hardwired into federal, state, local, or FBI databases (http://www.fbi.gov/), the London Metropolitan Police (http://www.met.police.uk/), the CIA (http://www.cia.gov/) and ATF ([)databaseswiththeiraccompanyinglocalregionalandnationalresourcesHealthmajorscouldbeuptodatewiththeirlocalregionalandnationalresourcesHealthmajorscouldbeuptodatewithreal-timeeventsinPathologyEpidemicsresearchnaturaldisasterresponseresourceinformationandpopulationhealththreatsthroughtheCDC([)DatenbankenmitihrenbegleitendenlokalenregionalenundnationalenRessourcenGesundheitsmajorskönntendurchdieCDC([)databaseswiththeiraccompanyinglocalregionalandnationalresourcesHealthmajorscouldbeuptodatewithreal-timeeventsinPathologyEpidemicsresearchnaturaldisasterresponseresourceinformationandpopulationhealththreatsthroughtheCDC(http://www.cdc.gov/), medical and health networks or the UN (http://www.un.org/). The possibilities are nearly unlimited.
Therefore, I agree that the ‘traditional’ approaches to teaching and learning, not just English and other foreign languages but many other areas as well, will evolve to meet the needs of learners, businesses and educational institutions. With CBL (Content-Based Learning), well-prepared TEFL English teachers, armed with knowledge, skills and ever-evolving technology, have nothing to fear from computers. Technology is another powerful tool to encourage the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, now and in the future.
What do you think?
Thanks to Larry M. Lynch | #Computers #Internet #Replace #TESOL #English #Teachers