Face-to Face Teaching - Doomed Or Blessed?
by Irena Fandul
The article I've read and am going to comment on is called "What is the Future of Teaching?" written by Josh Catone, apparently an ambitious young man. I am calling him so because you have to be real brave to try to predict the future of teaching in one short article. Anyway, Mr. Catone focuses on the aspect of online teaching and tries to find out whether our traditional education has any chances to survive.
Unfortunately, the factual information presented in this passage can hardly be called scientific and sounds ambiguous. On the one hand, we are told that, "students who completed all or some of their coursework online tested on average in the 59th percentile, compared to the 50th percentile for those who received only classroom instruction". On the other hand, the writer notices that "the online and classroom conditions differed in terms of time spent, curriculum and pedagogy". Moreover, no research has been done on K-12, which makes the whole thing irrelevant to me as a high school teacher.
While I don't think the article can convince anyone who doesn't second its main idea which is "…(however) the classroom is ultimately here to stay, we can probably safely assume that there will be more use of online learning tools in the future", I wouldn't like to be misunderstood and lead you to believe that I disagree with it. Online teaching, as I see it, is an excellent tool to enhance face-to-face teaching. It definitely gives us a chance to provide our students with more learning hours, resources and individual approach – something that has become scarce in the traditional classroom. However, for all this to become feasible, students have to be ready to consume what they are offered. In other words they have to receive guidance that can be provided only by a blood and flesh teacher who will help them develop necessary skills to cope with independent learning, which is the main purpose and the essence of virtual education.
I, for one, am happy to have a chance to use online teaching in class. Not only does it make the lessons more challenging and fun, it also ensures much better students' performance. I'd like to point out, though, that I see the computer with all its advantages as a perfect tool to enrich the course book and not to replace it. A book as long as it answers all the requirements of the curriculum and is student-oriented is nothing short of important.
To conclude, I am positive that face-to-face teaching is here to stay, however, like any other field , it will have to develop by adopting new methods and using new tools.