The Cost of Efficient Robotic Teachers

10:14 am Blogroll, Hong Kong Education

Robotic teachers

Over the last few years, the Hong Kong government and Baptist University pooled in half a million dollars to develop a computer program which can automatically correct students’ English essays. Fifty local secondary school students participated in the tests and the results of success were released yesterday.

The program scans the essay and matches the words which were used with stored articles on a similar topic from the internet, and then it indicates any mistakes or key issues which were excluded. Some of the students involved with the tests raved at its brilliance and prompt feedback. They were eager to see how they faired and where they made mistakes, claiming that school teachers frequently took too long to mark their essays and provide feedback.

While the immediacy is undeniably efficient, as a teacher, I cannot help but cast doubt on the promotion of such an invention. The process of marking and reviewing students’ work is more than merely announcing scores or riddling the essays with red ink for students to acknowledge. The importance of this step is to ensure students comprehend where exactly they made the mistake, enhance their understanding and encourage correct application in the future. No matter how swift a computer can produce the marked compositions, it cannot provide the personally catered feedback and engaged interaction which is constructive to a proactive approach to studying.

The focus should not be on what is strictly accurate or not. Expecting a model answer is already a proliferating attitude amongst Hong Kong students which hinder their growth in learning and knowledge. Such a habit should be deemphasized, not cultivated further. The attempt of such a creation places a teacher’s burden of a heavy workload of marking over the importance of a student’s education.

Perhaps Hong Kong is already sluggish with the rise of robotic teachers, as Japan and South Korea have been researching and launching pre-programmed mannequins to conduct basic duties of a teacher for a few years. For the benefit of Hong Kong’s next generation of students, our incomparable pace may be a godsend.

By Jennifer Chung

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