Lindsay Clandfield is an award-winning writer, teacher, teacher trainer, and international speaker in the field of English language teaching. He has written more than ten coursebooks and is the main author of the new young adult course Studio (Helbling Languages). His other courses include Global and Straightforward (Macmillan). Lindsay is the series editor of the Delta Teacher Development books and has co-written various methodology books for teachers, notably Dealing with Difficulties and Interaction Online (Cambridge University Press). His most recent methodology book was Teaching Live Online (Pavilion Press) which he co-wrote with Jill Hadfield. Lindsay is also the creative force behind various web projects including the popular blog Six Things, the e-publishing collective The Round, and the sci-fi/adventure materials website Extreme Language Teaching. You can find out more about him at his website www.lindsayclandfield.com.
The Automated Language Teacher
We are told that automation and AI are two of the key features that will shape the economy of the near future. However, the story that ‘robots are coming for your jobs’ is hardly new in the world of science fiction. There have been many books, films, and series which deal with this as a frightening aspect of the future. Nor is automation a new threat – or promise – in the world of education. What about in ELT? As machine translation continues to develop, we are already seeing bots and robots taking on the role of language instructors.
This plenary looks at the discourse and history of the push for automation and teaching machines in language education.I’d like to go further than just discussing whether or not we will be replaced by machines (spoiler alert: I don’t think we will). I’ll argue that apocalyptic predictions of robot teachers might not only be incorrect visions of the future but also harmful to our present-day practices. We’ll also look at what role the pandemic has played in clarifying the role of technology and teachers in recent years.