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One of the greatest phrases I have heard in recent times is, ‘If a computer can take over your job – it should’.
Makes you think doesn’t it? For some people it is worrying because they are not entirely sure that they are good at what they do, but they are sure that they have a job and get paid for it. So what if a computer could take that job away? It makes them feel insecure, and unfortunately, their biggest fear will happen.
In terms of teachers, many people have said, no piece of technology will take away that real pat on the back, a real smile and a real response from a real human being – that is true, but if you aren’t very good at any of these things? A piece of technology will do it for you.
I had a rather interesting moment recently while talking with a guy who was a taxi driver. He was complaining about Uber and how they were taking over. I suggested to him that he should shift to Uber, why not get a job being an Uber-driver? His only reply was – ‘No way – the passengers have to rate you and if you get less than three stars you are out of a job’. I mean…. duh! Isn’t that a good thing? All you have to do is be nice and you will cream the marketplace!
Interesting concept in the market of ESL too, if our students were able to rate their teachers (which by the way they do anyway informally), but if the school was to go by this, imagine the quality of the school?
Anyway – getting back to the core question. Recent research has shown that with all this technological disruption the fear that computers would put everyone out of a job is now showing some interesting trends. The answer is yes and no.
Yes – if a computer can do your job – sadly you are gone, but no – if you are a company that offers high quality human services, you will be thriving way beyond what you ever thought you could do. Why? Because being a great human is something people will pay premium prices for.
So now comes the question – will the future of the ESL classroom be any different to now?
My projection is that:
- All the poor performing teachers will need to look for another profession.
- All the high performing teachers will be able to name their price.
- The best schools will make a fortune.
- The middle level and low level schools will be out of business.
- Technology will still have to be integrated into every high performing school however it will be more likely to ‘enhance’ the performance of the teacher rather than take it away.
- High performing schools that keep up to date and integrate technology into every facet of their business will see increased revenue exponentially.
- Students in these high performing schools will have integrated learning by way of their own device – either mobile, laptop or embedded devices to enhance their learning experience.
- Online ESL learning platforms will get even bigger than they are now, however not so much as in being more sophisticated (though of course that will happen also) but by way of who can be reached through this technology and at what price.
- Students who learn English online in the near future will pay relatively small amounts to become proficient.
- Language Schools of the future will be upgraded from the ‘little house on the prairie’-type to the fully fledged major institutions they should be. All because of the human touch.
So these are my predictions. If you are an excellent teacher and are sought after, don’t worry, you will do very well in the future, but make sure you keep yourself up to date. If you are someone who is wondering if your job will be taken over, get out now and retrain in something you truly feel passionate about.
What are your thoughts?