For many of my early school years I harbored suspicions that my teacher was really a robot. She always knew whether I had really tried on my homework or not, she knew if I was misbehaving without even looking at me, and she knew exactly at what pace I was progressing at. It felt like I was the only student in her class. It was as if she was analyzing every little thing I did, then computed statistics, altered the programming, and then monitored the results for further changes…she even monitored me after school was over. I just realized that this joke works much better if I preface it by saying I was homeschooled until 6th grade (Love you, Mom).
I’m pretty sure a good amount of people have secretly had thoughts that their teacher was an alien or a robot. In Korea, it’s becoming true. The Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) created a Robo-teacher in 2010. The Robo-Teacher operated from the Phillipines and implemented in Korean classrooms of upto 8 students . They are able to correct students verbal errors and even point to students who raise their hands. Everything else is done via a live teacher in the Phillipines who acts and speaks through the robot. This would, in effect, replace the jobs of teachers living in Korea with a remote Filipino teacher via the robots. Now, most people seeing the jobs in their career field being outsourced might become worried, but I’m just excited. Although created in 2010, it is now in 2012 that the
infiltration integration of English-speaking Robo-teachers into the Korean education system begins. Korea hopes to have Robo-teachers placed in over 8,000 kindergartens by 2013. I’m assuming the Robo-teachers will eliminate all organic teachers the need for at least 2,000 foreign teachers, thus causing a further spike in teacher unemployment in an already over-saturated Educational job market.
(Warning: If you have never seen ‘Doctor Who’ then some of this may be nonsensical nerd talk)
Here is how I imagine this will play out: First, the
Daleks Robo-teachers will storm each hagwon (academy) fire lasers and yelling “EX-TER-MI-NATE!” in their tinny, lifeless voices. Once the threat of us foreign teachers is neutralized they will begin filling the brains of young Korean children with English. Why? Well, for the sole purpose of the children understanding the word “EX-TER-MI-NATE!”
In honesty, I am not very worried about this transition. If the purpose of teaching English was for children to feel confident speaking to other robots on the street I might be on edge, but the truth of the matter is that English needs to be taught be another human. After all, language is communication, and communication is interaction. Just remember one thing, Robo-teachers can only lead to one thing: Robo-students…and then we are all screwed. For more information or to see the Robo-teacher in action.
Adventures in Konglish:
I’m surprise I haven’t posted on the Pleasure Cafe yet. This is one of the few places in Daejeon that I’ve found that I can go to for an afternoon delight. I generally just walk in, ask them for pleasure, get my card stamped, and enjoy. I’d say, on average, they probably pleasure me about 3 times a week…with a delicious sandwich and a cup of coffee. Get your mind out of the gutter.
As you may have noticed, the theme of the blog has changed in order to make it a bit more user-friendly. So, please enjoy the new-and-improved, more navigable Adventures in Redefinition. You’re welcome. I’m welcome too.