Teachers vs Tech

Kids are back to school and so is the debate on whether teachers should be replaced by technology. It’s not something teachers in the developing world should lose sleep over, seeing as there aren’t enough computers to cover all schools.

Add the unreliable power supply and Internet and I’m sure they know their jobs are safe, for now.

The bigger argument though is or should be what the students prefer. Machine learning, so to speak or a personal touch from their teachers? I’d choose the latter. I had some amazing teachers over the course of my school years and I credit some of my best scores to them.

Some people’s calling is teaching and those are the kinds of teachers who spend 20 or so years doing everything they can to mentor and support their students, something a machine can’t do.

There’re so many teachers who make sure no student is left behind. They know their students’ strengths and weaknesses, who needs to be encouraged or given special attention and they provide it.

They don’t bash or reprimand you in front of the entire class when you fail a simple test and when they think something is up, they’ll call your parents just to make sure everything’s okay. Such personal touch is irreplaceable even by the most advanced Computer.

But there’re also cases where the students are smarter than the teacher, or the teacher is in the wrong profession or simply unprofessional. I’ve heard accounts of aggrieved teachers who take their anger out on students.

Poor pay, beef with your parents etc and they decide to pick on you or deliberately give you lower test scores. In that case, maybe online courses would serve the students better as the teachers get their act together through refresher courses to touch up their skills or perhaps take a break from teaching.

Oddly enough, I didn’t have the best learning experience with my Computer Science Teachers. A lot of the stuff I know today about Computers is really self-taught and I wonder why I burned all those hours in the Computer Lab! See back then, we didn’t have the luxury of our own PCs or Laptops to practice as some kids do today.

My High School Computer teacher was the worst, dedicating his time to his favourite students. Each Class had Computer lessons once a Week and we looked forward to those but sadly for us, it was more theoretical than practical.

I remember taking lots of notes and we were in fact tested on paper, not on Computer, which I think defeats the purpose.

My Computer Science Lecturer at University wasn’t much better. He seemed to get a kick out of the fact that most of us were “green” even though we’d passed our Computer Exams with flying colours!

If it took you a little longer to grasp what he was demonstrating on a given day, he’d mock you or make a snide remark and as such I was always nervous during his lessons and that’s not the way it should be.

Students are there to learn and not be made fun of and that’s probably the best argument from those pushing for more Tech in schools.

The ability to learn at one’s own pace. No judgment or pressure on the student. I guess both options are necessary and students should make the ultimate choice.

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