Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №27/2003

Are Teaching Machines Good?

More and more new machines are appearing nowadays. People try to use them everywhere, even in teaching. But there is no definite answer to the question whether they do good or cause enormous damage. Opinions differ. I would like to express my own point of view.

What is the result when we use computers, for instance? Children get knowledge according to their speed of mental development. There are several levels and they can easily enough be adjusted to a child’s abilities.

A computer can calculate a mark in no time, and one knows for sure that this mark is the most objective one. Such teaching machines are fair, they have no favourites. But all we have is a realistic picture of children’s knowledge and their accomplishments.

It’s clear enough that no one can progress in development without motivation. To be curious and inquisitive – that’s what a child needs. To create motivation, a child should be encouraged, listened to with understanding and affection. Every child needs direct praise from a human. Teachers are almost always interested in children’s accomplishment. As for computers, they, on the contrary, treat all pupils alike. They are indifferent towards individuals, but when a person feels that he is alone and isn’t interesting and important to anyone, he becomes spiritless and feels neglected. Such indifference can cause psychological damage.

And one more thing. At school the process of teaching coincides with the process of up-bringing. They overlap and interrelate. That is very important. While learning, children must be taught manners, to be polite and punctual, not to interrupt conversations, to develop a conscience and so on. Unfortunately, computers lack the ability to help them.

I think, there’s no use substituting human beings with computers or other teaching machines. It stands to reason that they must be used, but in small sensible amounts lest they do some harm. I hope, it would be just so!

By Katya Alexeenkova