Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teachers going the way of railroad brakemen.

There was a time when trains were stopped by having a brakeman move from car to car applying the brakes, link.
With the invention of remotely controlled braking systems,
brakemen became superfluous.

There was a time, when teachers (and textbooks) were the sole repository of information available to students. That time has passed. Teachers and textbooks cannot compete with the limitless wealth of information easily obtained from the "internet". The future is one of e schools.

The average student no longer needs a "teacher". Nor do they need "textbooks". They will become independent learners using the "internet" as their main resource, and need an adult, for the most, only to help them stay on task. The average student doesn't need someone with a college degree in "education".

There will still be a need for teachers. Students with genuine learning disabilities will need highly qualified "teachers" to help them overcome their various disabilities. Most students do not have such disabilities. Their only disability is their lack of self discipline; their only need is for someone to keep them on track.

The current model provides for a large number of highly trained teachers, and a smaller number of teaching assistants. The future calls for a small number of highly trained teachers, and a much larger number of less highly trained, and therefore less expensive, teaching assistants.

The savings can be translated into spending less on education all together, or spending the same amount, but lowering the ratio of students to adults. Instead of one adult per thirty students, we might see an adult for every ten students, allowing for the individual attention students need but are not now getting, whether to answer questions or simply to keep them on task and out of trouble.

The character of education will change dramatically.

The railroad unions fought the demise of the brakeman's job,
just as teachers unions will fight the demise of "teaching" jobs.
Textbook publishers will fight against the abandonment of
their anachronistic offerings.

The result will be the same; there will be an eventual concession
to the advances of technology, whether they like it or not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The whole textbook situation is corrupt, archaic, and not student-focused.
The largest buyer of textbooks, Texas, is now determining what is appropriate to teach and what is not.
Authors of textbooks make pennies per copy. Publishers and receivers of kickbacks make mega-money.
Much of the text book content in many curriculae is drivel and one-sided, and not multi-cultural. Much of the content is patronizing and not challenging at all.
Then you have content like math and science that kicks the kids asses and goes over their heads from day 1.
And with the advance of kindle and online/downlaodable texts and books, the solid book is not only too expensive and takes amssive storage, and suffers damage and loss yearly... it cannot be updated for about the next7-9 years, where online can be updated often.
Goodbye crappy, expensive textbooks. Your day is already done!