In an age where the answer to everything lies on the internet and it takes just the click of a button to have access to online classes, one might wonder what the role of teachers truly is.
Online courses are, undoubtedly, a wonderful inversion, especially for those who do not have the possibility to attend a campus for their education. They are also helpful for those who cannot afford to pay full tuition.
“What used to be expensive and inaccessible becomes convenient and accessible,” said Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, who studies the affects of technology on education, in an interview with U.S. News.
However, these classes are not perfect. Most of them, while allowing some student-teacher interaction, do not convey any emotions and lead to impersonal interactions. The vast majority of online courses could never compare to the experience of having a teacher.
A direct interaction between students and teachers is important for many reasons.
For one, teachers that interact with their students are able to directly observe what their students comprehend and what they do not. Therefore, they are able to adjust the difficulty of their classes in order to help their students do the best they can. Math teacher Gayle McGinnis allows her students to take group quizzes in particularly challenging chapters, for example.
Moreover, these teachers are able to explain the material in a multitude of ways, such that it helps each individual succeed. While the internet has a multitude of sources on many topics, there is no existing website that will rephrase ideas for the specific needs of individuals.
Another important aspect of direct student-teacher interaction is the passion that teachers can convey to their students.
Taking an online course consisting of reading and tests, or watching videos of lectures is completely different from actually being in a classroom with a teacher. A teacher sharing their passion in person can be a truly life-changing experience for students, as it may help them discover what they are passionate about.
Teachers who are in direct contact with their students also tend to care more about them, often encouraging them to strive to reach their highest potential.
In the end, it is quite obvious that direct teacher-student interaction is important, as it benefits students greatly and it may even change their lives.