Technology in education gets plenty of hype, but let's not forget the importance of teaching and learning, says Pamela Wright
At a recent British Council debate, Is teaching obsolete?, executive headteacher Pamela Wright, called for caution around technology in teaching. Here is a transcript of her argument.
I am a passionate believer in the teaching profession.
Teachers do not simply impart information and knowledge; teaching is not merely about systems, facts, figures and certainly does not exist to promote insularity and lack of social interaction.
If any of these elements were true, then my argument would fall down immediately. It is because the teaching profession is the complete antithesis to all of these ideas, that my argument is strong and compelling.
Our goal as teachers fundamentally is to encourage independent thought, independent enquiry and ultimately independent learning. It has been argued that new means of learning will be the way to facilitate this in the future. I say resoundingly no.
Aristotle said "man is a political animal" – central to that idea was mankind's innate desire to interact with one another and learn from one another, socialise with one another. Some may say that social media does this – but does it really?
Put at its simplest, if future models of learning means encouraging young people to spend prolonged periods in front of faceless computer screens, exposed to largely unregulated material in an inherently unsafe environment, then that is clearly not the way forward.
Education is much more complex than that. It is about the trust and bond between a teacher and young person (and parents) that creates the environment where learning can occur and grow. Virtual learning simply cannot do that. I would argue that in a world now where young people are retreating more and more into virtual unreality, the teaching profession is more important than it ever was. It is teaching that keeps it real – teaching that keeps young people alive. In short, teachers and the profession will never die.
Via Miloš Bajčetić