Video won't kill the classroom stars

17th February 2012 at 00:00

Dylan Wiliam's idea that teachers will soon be jobless if we continue to stand in front of kids and talk to them "because you can get a video to do it cheaper" is as crass as it is unhelpful ("Breaking the mould", 10 February). Nonetheless, if he can reassure me on the points below, I'll resign and he can put in his machine.

The first thing I'd ask him to do is simply to confirm that the video replacing me can deliver the material engagingly and with conviction, humour and empathy. In addition, obviously, it must differentiate, ensure the safety of the pupils, quickly adapt the lesson if it isn't working, supervise role-plays and kinaesthetic learning, and give feedback tailored to the needs of the individuals.

We're nearly there, aren't we? But there's just one thing more. The video would also need to pick up on the fact that Ben, normally a cheery and confident boy, is today sitting quietly, dark smudges under his eyes, looking strained. It will then have to create the opportunity to walk itself casually around the room, lean over Ben's desk, give him a reassuring smile and say quietly, "You look a bit tired, old chap. Anything wrong?" And it must then be able to respond appropriately to any answer - or lack thereof.

Only when his fantasy creation can do all this would I let it near my classes. Until then, I suppose it will have to remain in cloud cuckoo land, which is clearly where it was dreamed up.

Jon Belk, Primary and secondary languages teacher.

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