The purpose of this blog is to espouse the virtues of a non-erasure of traditional teaching methods and tools. Today, I am extending that statement to cover the physical presence of the very teachers themselves. I sincerely believe that the teachers and their physical face-to-face presence in the room alongside their students is one more notch in favor of traditional methods.
Two articles, Face-to-Face Training Still the Better Choice Over Digital Lessons and The value of analogue educational tools in a digital environment, written by Salah Banna and Andrew Murray respectively, provide support for the idea that students perform better in an environment where the teacher has presence and prominence, if not outright precedence. There is “…the fundamental reality that humans are social beings” (Banna), and the educational system should reflect that with a notable role maintained for the instructor(s) of a course. How this ties into education and our blog’s stated mission is with the inevitable — if potentially fluctuating in prominence — presence of modern technology in the classroom; the presence of digital tools/methods can be a barrier to the inherent humanity that emanates from real people and which can enhance the curriculum of a course.
Murray’s article alludes to the concepts of soft and hard determinism in regards to technology and its human creators; that is to say, Murray’s article alludes to the idea that technology will gradually become “…[an] advance of technology [that] leads to a situation of inescapable necessity” (Murray). The concept of technological determinism seems inevitable, and it is perhaps exactly for that reason that it should be delayed at all costs, in the name of keeping teachers employed and present to provide tangible wisdom and interaction to their students. As Murray states toward the end of his article, “in the rush to embrace the new we must not forget the value of established educational tools and techniques” (Murray). Teachers are not “tools” per se, but they are certainly established and valuable.