I’m not sure how many friends I will win with this post. Before I start, I want to make clear that I greatly respect the job teachers are asked to do. In fact, it’s practically impossible and the fact that kids learn anything at all is due to the teacher’s hard work. So keep that in mind…
Last year during the Union struggles in Wisconsin, I heard a lot of talk from the teachers unions about how teachers should be treated as professionals like doctors and lawyers. I agree they are professionals in the sense that they are paid to do a specific job. That is the difference between professional and amateur right?
Even so, I don’t think teachers aren’t on the same level as doctors and lawyers. Do this little thought experiment: can somebody from off the street operate successfully on a patient? Definitely not. Ok then, can a person from off the street teach a child something new? Probably yes.
This idea that a certified and trained teacher is the only one who can teach a child new things is a fairly new concept in society. I think it arose with mass public education about 100 years ago but if you look at history, children would learn from a variety of sources in their community (including a schoolteacher). Perhaps their greatest source of knowledge though was their parents and families.
Can a great teacher be made or are they born? I believe that technology is going to tell us that answer shortly.
“Imagine what we could accomplish if every expert shared his or her knowledge with the world,” said Eren Bali, Udemy co-founder and chief executive officer. “Online instructors are now teaching millions of people around the world. But there are so many more subjects that students want to learn. We’re calling upon every expert to join us and teach the next generation, starting this year.”
This follows one of my characteristics of the way we will learn in the future:
Everyone will be both a student and teacher. (see more here)
This also closely follows my theory that the Internet will empower the creative. (much more here)
This does not mean the end of teachers. It does mean the end of the very wasteful way the current system works and the start of the new golden age where every student gets what they need to develop to their fullest potential.
I believe all this because I am an optimist!