Could Technology Eventually Replace Teachers?

September 23, 2018

 

Technology: a wonderful tool that has aided human development for centuries. However, some fear technology, and some have lost everything due to technology. If you are a teacher, should you be afraid of technology taking your job?

 

In 2016, CNN estimated that five million jobs would be lost to technology by 2020. This statistic is nothing when you compare it to the number of manufacturing jobs that have been lost due to automation in the past. Will the technology aiding teachers soon overtake them? Not exactly.

 

What is a teacher? A teacher is someone whose occupation is to instruct, according to Merriam-Webster. Can a computer really instruct students? No.

 

In order for a job to be replaced by technology, the job must be basic and brainless. This does not describe teaching. Teachers are required to connect on an individual level with students, and a machine will not be able to connect with humans at all in the upcoming years. Everyone has had a teacher who has demotivated them and even turned them away from a specific subject. However, every bad teacher has a positive counterpart who connects with their students individually and inspires them to do better. An algorithm will never be able to inspire a student like a teacher can because, in the case of teachers, their support will always be genuine. While support from computers will be nothing except programming.

 

A bad teacher is a teacher who regurgitates information and expects students to excel in exams. By definition, a robot will always be a horrible teacher. Manufacturing jobs are easy to replace, especially when the task being performed is as simple as moving something from point A to B. This will never be the case for teachers. The educational company, GreatSchools, notes, “Great teachers form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people.” A robot cannot care for their students, and they will not be able to engage these students either.

 

Image by U.S. Department of Agriculture (https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/16762770039)

 

Some argue robots will one day take over every occupation. Yet many remain skeptical. Claims arise, saying that schools are becoming very “teach to the test,” which will cause robots to become a more effective way to teach students. While this does make sense, countries are not going forward with a “teach to the test” model because it is what is best for students. Rather, schools have become this way due to greed capitalizing off the education of our youths. It is inconvenient for robots to teach a perfect way of working with every student. The website, Patch, reported that The College Board generated a revenue of $200,000,000 dollars in 2013. Much of this revenue comes from students retaking exams such as the AP exams and the SAT. If a robot taught a class using methods that rely solely on teach to the test, then more students will pass these exams while having learned nothing. This is not only a disservice to our students but also to The College Board itself. This organization thrives by using human error and bad teachers to their own advantage. If a robot does not teach a subject but it does teach you how to pass an exam then what is the point. Communities lose out on educated youths and corporations lose money, a lot of it. It is fair to say organizations like the College Board would never allow schools to become 100% “teach to the test.” Robots will never completely replace teachers. So to any future educator who may see this, know your career will be a stable one.

 

Sources:

https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/what-makes-a-great-teacher/

https://patch.com/new-jersey/newbrunswick/bp--the-college-board-a-very-profitable-nonprofit

 

Gustavo Hernandez is a high school sophomore with hopes of one day starting a gaming company. He can be contacted at gustavohernandez@smilesforlearning.org.

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