Teachers: At the forefront of learning

Photo via DepEd

by Lani L. Requio
DepEd teacher

The rise of artificial intelligence and the lightning-fast pace of technological development have caused some to doubt the role of teachers in learning.

Some believe that because of the myriad of information sources available to students, they are no longer as much in need of educators as learners from prior generations were.

I tend to believe the opposite, however.

As Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones recently pointed out during the celebration of World Teachers’ Day 2019 in Pasig City, teachers in the 21st century are still indispensable in the fight for quality education.

In my daily encounter with my students, I find that Sec. Briones’ sentiment is true.

Students, perhaps more than ever, need the guidance of teachers to prepare them for life outside of the classroom.

Machines such as computers and mobile devices may prove useful in accessing and verifying information, but they are incapable of adapting to the complex and very personal needs of students.

They cannot provide advice, for example, on how the students may improve in their academic performance, or tell them what to do about the slump in their grades, because they are experiencing financial or family problems.

Further, they are sometimes the source of incorrect or misleading information, which a teacher, as someone with more life experience and training for education, has the ability to clarify or correct.

This is not to say that we should not use machines, or dismiss their benefits to educators and learners.
However, one must be careful, as well, to avoid downplaying the role of teachers in education.

To quote Sec. Briones: “The battle for quality basic education will be fought and won in our classrooms, by our teachers. Ultimately, it is in the classrooms where the day-to-day learning of our students happen.”

Teachers must be given their due credit for leading a revolution against ignorance and misinformation.

They must be lauded for not only discussing daily lessons, but also molding the minds of pupils in critical and creative thinking.

They must be appreciated for being so selfless and devoted to giving top priority to the wellbeing of our youth, who will, through their thoughts and actions, affect not only their generation, but also the future ones.