Can teachers be replaced by robots imbued with Artificial Intelligence?

Now is the beginning of the 4th Industrial Revolution. It is very depressing for me as I feel very threatened by the fact that I am not very good in terms of digital skills. Due to my inadequacies, I made it a point to attend the 4th Industrial Revolution talk by my university president this morning. The talk has provoked my thoughts about my future teaching career.

Every field of study is evolving fast with the aid of artificial intelligence and robotic inventions. If we are to maintain the traditional way we do our work, our roles might be taken over by robots imbued with artificial intelligence. I am an English teacher wondering about the core competencies I can develop in order to make sure that I will not be replaced by a robotic teacher. Or how can I be better than a robotic teacher?Robotic teachers might have artificial intelligence but yet they are not reactive human teachers. Maybe, reactivity is the advantage of a human teacher. In an interactive classroom, students are encouraged to give their responses to the teacher in terms of what they are learning. Besides, they are encouraged to express their opinions, ideas and recommendations for critical scrutiny and discussion.

Due to the diversity of responses we might receive in a classroom, a robotic teacher might not be able to do well in reacting to the diverse responses in a collaborative manner so as to aid interactive learning. For every response, be it right or wrong, human teachers can always use relevant hints and thought-provoking questions to encourage students to think, imagine and reflect more deeply on the issue at hand for better understanding and skillful application. A human teacher is more sensitive to the difficulties faced by students so they can act promptly according to the learning needs of the students in a class, surpassing the effectiveness of recorded lectures and tutorials.

Human teachers allow the chances for debates about ideas from different perspectives in a classroom setting. A robotic teacher which is preprogrammed might not be able to react to all the arguments within the shortest time in the most appropriate manner by drawing an all-encompassing conclusion.

Besides, human teachers can build a harmonious teacher-student relationship with their learners. This relationship can sometimes serve as students’ motivation to excel in their learning so as not to disappoint their teachers who have put in effort for scaffolding them in their process of learning to be an independent thinker.

Of course, we also need to learn how to make good use of the newest teaching-related hardware and software to make students’ learning more engaging and independent.

All the best, teachers!


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