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The changing role of teachers in the age of AI [Copy link] 中文

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This post was edited by appleeater at 2019-9-11 10:19

In the past three decades, the focus of China's educational reform has shifted from the traditional teacher-and-textbook-centered practice to a student-and-activity-centered approach. In this transformation, the role of teachers has also undergone change as a transmitter of knowledge to facilitators of authentic learning.

The logical starting point for redefining this role lies in the envisioning of teaching and learning in an AI-rich future. With the development of Massive Online Open Courses, access to quality and free content online is empowering a new generation of learners.

Personalized learning on a massive scale is the vision for education, and AI technologies are expected to provide leverage to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goal of being able to"ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all."

With all the resources and technologies available, teachers still have much to do to promote authentic learning.

Quality learning resources may be readily accessible on the internet but students still need motivation to take advantage of them; AI may customize individual learning through behavioral data collection and data mining but learning in its full sense is a fundamentally social and ethical process.



The library of Ghent University, Belgium, April 4, 2017. /VCG Photo




Yu Shengquan from Beijing Normal University believed that the common form of future teaching and learning is not the traditional classroom lecturing model, but a project-based learning model with the aid of online resources and offline teacher support.

Students learn through collaborative and genuine problem solving projects with their creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills cultivated in the process.

Thus, teachers need to be excellent designers of learning environments, activities and projects and facilitators of learning communities which can inspire and sustain students' passion for learning and problem solving for the benefit of mankind.

Currently, there's also much discussion on the dissection and reallocation of teaching tasks to AI and human teachers to form a human-machine hybrid model in order to promote teaching effectiveness and student learning outcomes.

While AI takes over the low skill, repetitive, knowledge transmission aspects of teaching, human teachers are to be liberated for more high skill, creative, and social-emotional aspects of teaching.

For example, the tedious routine of assignment grading and feedback, and repetitive lecturing will be replaced by AI. And teachers should better play the role of facilitator, mentor and counselor, online content curator, activity organizer, and project designer, among others, instead of mere transmitter of knowledge.

So, teachers should improve their social-emotional capacity, sensitivity to students' needs, data analytic skills and intelligent use of data and information, and creativity in teaching.

But we should not mistake this vision of hybrid teaching as a claim that AI will take up the cognitive aspect of learning and human teachers can focus on the affective aspect of learning.

This kind of separation and dualism would be a misinterpretation of the teaching and learning process. Only teachers passionate about and knowledgeable about what they teach can teach well.

Therefore, knowledge is always at the center of both teachers' and students' attention and all the learning activities are to lead students to the consummation of truly mastered knowledge which is always accompanied by proper feelings.

The AI age is only dawning and its full potential to transform how we live, work and learn is still to be manifested. There are some concerns that strong AI will dominate human society and many would become the useless class with jobs taken over by AI.



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AI needs 5G or higher to ensure good performance.

Time has come for anyone who wants to learn will learn at any time and any place so that the learner benefits most.





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Education on the whole is not just academic. Education should include social skills, moral upbringing, civil ethics...etc besides acquiring knowledge. Schools should be a place for children to learn manners, civility, and morality while interacting with each other. This article solely emphasises on the academic, which is fine. But the civil and moral aspect should not be neglected. Otherwise children will grow up to become inhumane. This is where teachers may play an important part while being facilitators for the academic part.

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RE: The changing role of teachers in the age of AI

forgive me, I only read the first few paragraphs and I saw nothing but nonesense.


"the focus of China's educational reform has shifted from the traditional teacher-and-textbook-centered practice to a student-and-activity-centered approach.".
It's strange, I'm Chinese, how come I don't know about that?


30 years ago the competition among students in Chinese schools concentrated only in senior high schools. At that time only around 20% of all the high school students could get into college.


now the admission rate has reached as high as 70%, but the competition in schools are becoming cutting throat, and it's been spreading to junior high and primary schools, even kindergardens. Parents are going nuts really, kids have to learn letters, characters, math and english right from they get into kinder gardens even if the gov repeatedly prohibits that.
actually many parents don't want their kids to learn those so early, but they have no choice because primary school teachers will skim through those basics very quickly, the lessons are becoming more and more advanced, and teaching of those lessons are becoming faster and faster, for example english words I learnt only in college 20 years ago appear in primary school text books nowadays.
it's 100 meters race right from kindergarden, with the end being getting into college. while college education, it's another sad story, I won't elaborate here.  


almost all primary school kids have to take extra classes given by outside of school commercial facilities, in the evenings and at weekends.  it's the same in high school.
education in china is becoming a big commercial activity, a very profitable business. Most noticeable was 10-15 years ago when almost overnight all the good junior high schools in major cities (I don't know about smaller cities) became privatized, before which it was 9 years compulsory education, kids went to schools closest to homes, after privatization people got choices but tests and competition came with it too. to get into these better schools kids have to receive tests designed by schools themselves, of which the most famous ones are olympic math test, later the olympic test of chinese also came along.
these olympic math/chinese test serve no other purpose than screening, it has no any use in expansion of knowlege or insights .

nowadays in China, among the so called 3 mountains, education is becoming the biggest one, with housing and medical care close behind.  due to these increasingly heavy burdens, the birth rate in China is going down and down, just like what's happening in Japan and South Korea. this is the most profound reason why I stay pessimistic about the future of east asia.

given this background, you think Personalized learning is possible? everything is being learnt to get into better schools and better college, anything which is not directly or immediately relevant to those tests are not encouraged to be learnt.  

As for AI technologies to aid education, there are some ventures into that area already, but from what I see these are nothing but shams, like many similar AI projects around the world.






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huaqiao Post time: 2019-9-11 13:34
Education on the whole is not just academic. Education should include social skills, moral upbringin ...



Fully agree with your good self!

This is to give the fundamental basics to almost all who want to learn.

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