If we follow the essentialist instinct to its extreme, there may be substantially less need for teachers. Let’s say the powers that be can define a set of standards for required knowledge and make those standards concrete (i.e. no “well rounded individuals” verbiage and even concepts like ‘problem solving’ are expressed in operational terms). If that is the case and if adhering to those standards is deemed sufficient, than much of what is today done by teachers can be drilled by well designed computer programs. Spelling, vocabulary, math and other objective subjects could be easily computerized. Writing, lab science and some parts of foreign language would be more difficult. But there is a big chunk of day to day teaching that -could- be automated, if society was so inclined.

There are even some areas where computerized training is superior to (or anyway a useful addition to) real world training. Training soldiers, police, first responders and medical personnel on simulators makes a lot of sense due to the costly nature of real world mistakes. However, training grown professionals serves a very different societal function than primary or secondary school. On the other hand, I’ve written elsewhere here about the possible need for more drastic approaches towards changing a system that seems to be failing in major areas in major ways. Perhaps this possibility of widespread computerized intervention will be a good catalyst for change and result in superior integration of humanist and essentialist goals.

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