The story by Martin George in the TES 6th April 2018

Ed-tech consultant says England will have to learn from organisations operating in developing countries that have a shortage of high-quality teachers

England’s teacher recruitment crisis will result in computers teaching children and teachers becoming ‘pastoral carers’, an ed-tech consultant has said.

The prediction comes after Tes research revealed that the country will require an additional 50,000 secondary school teachers by 2024.

Henry Warren, a former director of learning and innovation at global education company Pearson, said the system would realise it would not be able to find these teachers, at which point “necessity is the mother of invention”.

He cited the example of Bridge International Academies, which operates in developing countries and sees teachers deliver heavily scripted lessons from electronic tablets.

Two years ago, then education minister Lord Nash met Bridge to discuss its low-cost model of education, although the organisation says it remains focused on the developing world.

Mr Warren told Tes: “You have to take some lessons from what Bridge do and say ‘can we take lesser trained people and use them effectively’, and then it comes down to that big conversation about what does technology do better than humans, and what do we have to have with humans?

“I suspect what you are going to end up with is teachers taking a much more emotional role and leaving the content delivery to the computers. You can foresee a situation where you have someone who is effectively providing pastoral care. I don’t mean crowd control – I mean proper pastoral care.”

He added: “We can train these people much, much faster because a lot of the skills and attributes you need to do that, they are much more common than the multitude of skills and attributes you need to be a teacher in today’s world.

“It’s basically good parenting. If you are a good parent, you would probably make a good pastoral carer or whatever you want to call it.”

His prediction comes as a British team is in the running for the $10 million Global Learning XPrize, which seeks teams to produce software that will “enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 15 months”.

Onebillion, a British team, is one of five groups that has already received $1 million after being shortlisted.

This is an edited article from the 6 April edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article here

Leave a Comment