Prophets have always understood that foretelling needs to be made in a vague style. Future prediction is a very difficult business, especially when you forecast something specific. However, if you predict for an undetermined period of time nobody can catch your mistake. To say that the teaching profession won’t last, doesn’t take courage. On the contrary, in saying that the teaching profession would never disappear (“Never say never”) you take a chance. I will take this chance because I believe that this profession is an integral part of every human society.
Lately, we hear more and more about the end of the teaching profession and this forecast is based mostly on these arguments:
- It isn’t the first extinct profession. It happens. It will happen again.
- World-wide diminution of the teacher’s role. Maybe this diminution is only the first step to extinction.
- New technology in education could bring alternatives.
The first. Some professions died while others have a long history and don’t give signs of future extinction. The second group consists from those that are there because of human nature (thieves for example) or those which satisfy the human necessary needs (fortune teller for example). Teachers have both components. People like to teach (at least some of them). Teachers help to transfer and process knowledge which satisfies the human society’s needs.
The second is simple. A bad attitude toward a profession says nothing about its longevity. Low opinion of politicians in society doesn’t say that this profession will have a problem of existence in the future.
The third one is the most difficult to argue. New technologies have a big share in education and certainly will have more in the future. Information flow already runs through the other pipes. A teacher isn’t the only and isn’t the best source of information.
Having access to information isn’t everything. Surfing the WEB without direction is a mostly unproductive occupation. We need direction in the informational chaos. Knowledge has a structure and this structure defines learning sequence. You can’t see the whole building when you are sanding at the entrance. A teacher is an experienced guide who gives you direction. Help in learning is difficult because different people create knowledge in different ways. People think differently therefore a teacher needs to adjust the learning way to a specific student. Another aspect is social interaction. People will need to communicate with each other personally. Children learn everywhere by trying, but sometimes they need correction, and the teacher’s directions can have value.
Computers are becoming more intelligent. Educational programs are becoming more attractive and effective. It is possible that some day computers will think like humans (for me, it means that the computer will become a man). This Robo-man could replace human teachers. Whether the teacher would be made of cells or of another material, the profession would remain.