Sunday, March 5, 2017

Will a robot ever replace a teacher?

On the sound outside Seattle, brothers share a kayak ride. Shared experiences like these form the basis of influence. Shared experiences like these build trust. 
Shared experiences build relationships. 

Three considerations about education:
What is the curriculum?
Is it aligned with what’s tested?
Is the pedagogy (teaching) the best possible?

Teachers think in terms of these questions.  They guide our planning, discussions, professional development, and just about what we consider when building a daily lesson plan.

Initially, we must look at what we are teaching. We reframe the question in various perspectives: Do we teach what we want to teach? Do we just covering the basics? Do we delve deeper and look to truly investigate the content? Do we chase too many rabbits? Do we start on Page 1 of the textbook and head to the back? Cover to cover?  

Progressing, we look at the standards the state (DESE) publishes. When the state develops a test, they tell us what is going to be on the test. We then have to ask if our curriculum matches what they have published. We have to align our efforts to their scale and teach what is most important. We get some leeway and flexibility but our top focus is the Missouri Learning Standards.

Finally, we consider what we are actually doing in classrooms. Are we going from worksheet to worksheet? How engaged are our students? Do the materials look like they are from 1995 or are they current and fresh? Are we preparing students for a future that does not exist yet to solve problems that we don’t even know about yet?  

Often times, we are asked about the problems or issues in education. Seldom is there one problem but a myriad of issues to address before we can teach a child about meiosis or mitosis. Meals, hygiene, clean clothes, and safety influence the outcome and predict if a student will be able to work and participate in class, or will be too distracted to focus.  

Will we be able to ever replace a teacher with a robot? Only time will tell but for now, only teachers are sensitive enough to gather all the supporting data, process the facts, and then create a plan or the next step to address deficiencies - all while taking attendance, looking for pencils, prompting students to get to work, and collecting homework! True multi-tasking!  


  1. Hasn't this already occurred? How can a teacher compete against the focus of a consumerist society where both parents have to work outside the home (if they are still even together) and the implications of lack of nurturing in first few years, all the way to replacing the parent with the big 'bot of media' in its all consuming dominance... entertainment, sports, so called news. The kids come programmed to fail because of all these filters. How many parents are readying their children each day to work with teachers to succeed?

  2. Mark, Great thoughts and questions!
    Each of them could dovetail into another entire dissertation!
    Thanks for taking the time to read it.