24 jan 2016 Alphabet Generation – From Hi-Fi to Wi-Fi
I have recently read an article talking about the teacher of the future and that got me thinking whether I was either connected to past, present or future.
Some years ago I and Lidia Vanessa (a fellow teacher and friend of mine) did a presentation at an ABCI conference which started with a provocative question: ‘’Will computers replace teachers?’’ It was amazing to see how much debate there was then and how much this is being debated today. But, before we get to the answer, it is vitally important to mention a couple of things.
First and foremost, one needs to consider the kind of target public educators today are dealing with. It is true that generations come and go – at least, I am still going. It is also true that there has been this baby boom thing and with it Generations X, Y and Z. Being a digital immigrant (an old dog learning new tricks) as opposed to a digital native (my children saying “YouTube it and you’ll find it, dad”), I do not know which letter of the alphabet I should apply myself to, however, I fear that we might be running out of letters soon.
Well, that is the sort we have in our homes, let alone, rubbing shoulders with in the classrooms nowadays. This ‘’it’s-easy-generation’’ might find it, say, unacceptable that their educators are rather ‘out’ than ‘in’ and they might fathom out that, after all, we are not a ‘superior race’ anymore and that our upper echelon days are over. Been there, done that, trust me!
Bearing in mind that students already make use of a full range of gadgets, consequently, the first thing to do is to get to grips with technology, or at least pretend you know it. In other words, learning a few clicks here will definitely land you on a few tricks there and everywhere. I could name many spinoffs but just mentioning that preparing your lesson plans is a good example of using technology to your advantage. All you need to do is operate a few spur-of-the moment additions and deletions.
On a professional front, envisaging CPD is critical. People barely memorise their favourite samba school tune at the beginning of the year and are already singing Jingle Bells by December. Indeed, time is flying like there was no yesterday, so a rule of the thumb is to keep updated. I liked it once when a parent pointed out that teachers are the core of education and, being so, I firmly believe that we need to keep pumping knowledge all the time. There is no room for the lame excuse that I do not have time to go conferences. Online courses are up for grabs, social media and teaching forums are all over the net, not to mention webinars, blogs (here we are with RichmondShare), vlogs and the kind.
As I see it, not only will the ideas mentioned above add dynamics to your teaching but they will certainly add variety to your lessons. The instant you have learnt how to challenge your learners on their own environment, they will start to find out you are ‘cool’ after all. They will see you as a trained professional with an academic career through degree, post, MA, PhD and whatever it takes. However, the best of all is that you show you care and that you are providing them with opport24unities to show how that their individuality can and will add to the group.
In conclusion, educators should be open the new horizons and include yourself and your learners in the teaching-learning process. Try your best even if your best is not enough for some. As it stands, my answer to the question ‘’Will computer replace teachers?’ is a big NO. Teachers will never be replaced by computers, but teachers who do not use computers most certainly will be.