Dr S. Reshma Praveen
MSc, BEd, PhDs, BD, MD, MBA, MA Ed, MA Psychology, PGD in Art Therapy is a resident of Dubai,
an author of 19 books and an educator and master trainer.
Every child is unique with a lot of potential, the best possible way to explore that
potential is through creativity: creativity to think, creativity to implement, creativity
to perform, creativity to present i.e. to present its best, displaying its unique potential
With the everyday progression and advancement of AI ….. the whole world is in a thought process that human interventions in most areas will decrease and will be replaced by Robots or Artificial Intelligence, and the same may be in the thoughts of educators as well. But will the Educators/Teachers be replaced by AI in future? This is the biggest question to ponder and think about.
AI can teach students to count but cannot teach them what counts best in their life. Mechanized and AI-generated answers can be intellectually logical but may not be practical in real-life situations. The solutions provided by AI may be correct but may not have empathy or feelings. Educators/Teachers encourage his/her students’ minds to think, hands to work and hearts to care. Teaching is not a job but a lifestyle that the teachers carry 24X7. A good teacher untangles complex things into easier understandable answers.
1. Teachers play a vital role in education and its system:
Every child is unique with a lot of potential, the best possible way to explore that potential is through creativity: creativity to think, creativity to implement, creativity to perform, creativity to present i.e. to present its best, displaying its unique potential with confidence.
Teachers help students explore and realize their uniqueness, encourage them to think creatively and develop their problem-solving skills. Teachers help them to realize the importance of education, foster a love of learning, support & guide them to progress, grow and develop confidently. Teachers inspire their students to choose education based on their interests to enter the future workplace.
On the other hand, it is known that AI has also started playing its role in the education system by its intervention as providing responsive feedback and objectives regarding the students’ work which can help them to improve their learning skills and have a focused approach. But after all, a machine is a machine, AI also has its limitations where it cannot read between the lines and respond to the non-verbal cues which the human teacher deals with in the classroom and beyond during the whole teaching-learning process. Connecting with young hearts and minds, having a sense of empathy, understanding and responding to non-verbal cues, providing valuable life skills, standing by the student’s side, and teaching them how to deal with disappointments and failures ….. are some of the unique things where human teachers are very strong at and are constantly evolving, learning by himself/herself new things, and even experimenting on their own with new methods as applicable to the students’ potentials and capacity in their day-to-day teaching-learning process. These are some of the essential aspects of students’ life and learnings which AI cannot replicate on its own. AI can provide feedback and be used to assist in the teacher/students’ development based on the updates and data entered and fed into its system, but it cannot replicate the teachers’ human feelings for its human students which has a passion and ownness to ensure that his/her students excel in their work and life, based on their unique learning types and multiple intelligences.
2. Teachers provide a holistic emotional connection whereas AI cannot:
When students start to get supported, learn, develop, and grow there is a connection built with their teachers, it gets connected emotionally, mentally, and psychologically even throughout their careers and life. But this cannot be possible with AI. Artificial Intelligence cannot replace the emotional attachment and the same level of support provided by teachers where they constantly strive and adapt to the new situations and changes required by the needs of the students including their holistic development. Teachers see their job with passion & responsibility and feel it is their purpose, and to transfer & impart knowledge to their students they should create a conducive environment for limitless learning.
3. Teachers can modify, adapt and change their teaching-learning strategies and methods on their own:
As per the student’s needs in the class, teachers can modify their lesson plan and activities, adapt to the needs of students’ ongoing learning requirements and change their teaching strategies and methods on their own to meet the needs of an individual student or all students. They understand the differentiation that one student is different from another, each student can absorb the knowledge based on their multiple intelligence and unique potential.
Teachers can personalize their lesson plans based on the students’ learning potentials and the ongoing interactions, helping them one-to-one to learn and flourish. They connect with students in person, let them work collaboratively, think critically, evaluate, synthesize and create on their own, instil values, discipline them, prepare them for future challenges
Artificial Intelligence based educational software can help the teacher/learner identify the areas where the student is struggling and need help. AI can show the intellectual gaps, answer the teacher/students’ doubts, can give a solution to a problem; but as human teachers AI will not help in choosing the most effective strategy in their teaching plans based on the diverse students in his/her class. AI can help teachers in evaluations, virtual learning, guiding the teachers with multiple teaching-learning approaches, testing, generating unique formats, creating bias-free unique formative & summative questions, the MCQs, fill-in-the-blanks, true or false, differentiated questions etc., but AI cannot provide a holistic learning experience to the students.
4. The ecosystem of Institutional and Social Learning in a mutually supportive environment:
When we discuss teaching-learning, it is not one person’s teaching responsibility/job, it connects with various forms, diverse individuals, multiple people with vivid understanding, knowledge, intellectuals, and flavours. When a student gets into the school, he/she gets connected in multiple ways to learn, perceive, and interpret from the various actions and the surroundings ….. from peers, teachers, staff, leaders, the organizational infrastructure, policies, processes, procedures, and everything which the school offers him/her. The enrichment activities that the students do practically, life lessons he/she gets from his/her peers, the social connection that he/she builds with the school community, and further.
The schools/institutions/organizations play an important role not only in developing students’ academics & intellectuals but also in holistic and overall development, which AI cannot do.
AI can isolate students in a concise physical space of their own where students may be interacting & learning with others virtually but in person, they may lack social and other life skills. These isolated virtual spaces may get the students stressed, depressed, and lack the ability to face the practical challenges of life in fields and in society. Isolated physical spaces of virtual classrooms can be like an individual’s home-schooling but not an ecosystem where the flourishing and blossoming of young minds can happen in the natural/physical environments rather than in augmented reality. AI can provide augmented reality and simulations but cannot lead to value-added education for learners. Other than the intellectual and academic development of a student, going to school and institutions involves multiple areas of development like ….. periods of sleep/wake-up habits (keeping oneself fit & healthy), day’s routine of getting ready/dress-up for school (grooming self), arranging the school’s scheduled timetable requirements (disciplining and tidiness), reaching the school on time (using the mode of transport/commuting i.e time management), interacting with peers (social and behavioural skills), responding to the classroom teaching-learning-process via the teachers (respecting and listening to others), collaborative learning (disciplining self, being part of a team), going out in sun/wind/greens – getting connected with nature, physical sports, having the food together with peers or in the canteen (nutritional benefits), remembering so many names of friends, teachers and others (memorizing), etc. etc.
AI can provide State-of-Art AI teaching solutions and awesome educational materials, but the student will miss the wholly different and new physical world out there. It is not only about books, numbers, or grammar rules, it is also about being together, collaborations, real-life applications, field activities, sports, teamwork, in-person interaction, and respecting the space/privacy and opinions of others around. It is not about completing the assignments and sheets and virtual interactive activities; school is also about being with your physical presence where the learning can contribute to the wiring of the learners’ brains.
Artificial Intelligence can help us grow with technology to ease the efforts but the human touch cannot be missed because of technology as humans play an important role in building up these AI, its software, required data, and its processing protocols. Such smart, intellectual, and powerful solutions can help both teachers and students in identifying and filling the gaps in learning. AI can be a catalyst for human learners’ development for the new era but it cannot provide and equip the students with such a comprehensive and holistic ecosystem and environment on its own. Hence AI can never completely replace humanized teaching-learning.
AI is important and so are the Teachers. AI (machines) and Teachers can both collaborate effectively to create an effective and beneficial learning environment that benefits every learner in its own way of growing confidently into a future global citizen. Teachers are/were the important pillars of developing intellectual humans & in turn progressive society and will remain so for the future too. Teachers are irreplaceable no matter how much we progress or develop in the virtual world of artificial intelligence.