With growing shortages in science, math and special education in all states and the District of Columbia, many school districts are relying on remote instruction beamed into classrooms (“In More High School Classes, the Teacher Is on a Screen,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 26). When designed well, such instruction can be effective.
But I submit that even then, remote teachers are a poor substitute for traditional teachers because of the role that personality plays in learning. Although it is fiction, “Dead Poets Society” is an example. The impact that John Keating, who was played by Robin Williams, had on his students can never be duplicated, let alone surpassed, by a remote teacher.
Years after subject matter is forgotten, students remember the way their favorite teachers instilled in them enthusiasm for their subjects. I’ve made it a point to attend the class reunions of the same high school where I taught for my entire 28-year career. The students still vividly recall how they were inspired by certain teachers. No electronic lesson can ever leave that kind of indelible impression.
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