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August 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

The Irreplaceable Teachers’ Roles

Synthia Santoso graduated from the English Department of Petra Christian University, Surabaya. She has interests in creativity, language teaching, and entrepreneurship.

Oscar Jodi is a graduate of English Department of Petra Christian University, Surabaya. He is interested to know more about technology integration in language classrooms.



The growth of technology has influenced all aspects of human’s life. Language education is no exception. In Indonesia’s language education system, technology generally applies through games, videos and applications.  The rapid advancement of technology might in some points lead to a prospect of replacing teacher with technology. There are, however, some roles that technology cannot be replaced by technology of any kind.  


Irreplaceable teachers’ roles

There are three teacher roles in language learning process that are irreplaceable by any technology: motivational support, progress observation and source of reference. Each will be discussed below.



One of the most obvious capabilities that technology will not replace the teacher’s role is in motivation support. Motivation is really important for students to be encouraged, inspired and minded in learning another language. Indeed technology may motivate students by attracting their interest and supporting their improvement in learning, but it is lack of emotional relationship. As a device, technology is only able to say the motivational words without understand how it should be applied to the students. While in order to achieve the learning goal, our students need more than just motivational words. They need to get the motivational values carried in a good emotional relationship between student and teacher; and face-to-face communication, active conversation and open discussion are just some of the many emotional relationship approaches that technology fails to do. Although communication technology such as Skype and Facebook allows the students to communicate with other people, it fails to provide the physical support to engage motivation values. Basically, motivation needs to be felt rather than to be heard. Since learning language is nowhere close from easy, it is the teachers’ role to give a motivation support and emotionally support the students; somethings that technology cannot replace.



The second teacher’s role in language learning process that is irreplaceable is to monitor student’s progress. Each time students are learning something; a progress is surely being made. These progresses are really important to make sure students’ ability in learning and to analyse their problems. Teacher’s job in observing this progress is surely inevitable. Technology may able to track student’s records and results better than teacher since it programmed to analyze the scores and the mistakes then convert it to a valid data. However, technology is not programmed to find out why. By observation, teachers are making an effort to find these reasons. Teachers are making an analysis not only through the student’s scores, but also their behavior in class while learning. This kind approach will add more perspective in analyzing the problems. Thus, teacher can gain not only ideas in solving the problem, but can solve it accurately. This kind of deep observation is not possible to be done with technology since it requires direct approach to the students and environmental observation by the teacher. Still, it is true that students problems in language learning can be categorized to some groups like lacking of vocabulary and grammatical problems, but the reasons why students make the mistakes are vary and the solution to fix it very complex to be analyzed into programs. Therefore, teachers are able to give irreplaceable technology observation since it is seen through direct analysis and able to be solved.


Source of reference

Lastly, the teacher’s role which is irreplaceable to be replaced by technology is as a source of reference. There is no doubt that students nowadays are natives to technology when it comes to them using social media platforms and playing games. The question is whether they are native when it comes to facing technology applied in educational fields. Therefore, teachers’ roles here are so enormous in guiding and explaining to students what this technology is capable of and how it works. There are many self-study-exercises on the internet for students; and students might need some guidelines to find the most suitable materials that suit their needs. Teachers also have a responsibility to bring technology into their classrooms. It might be a bit difficult for teachers who are not used to technology before but it does not mean that it is not feasible.



In short, technology will not replace teacher’s role in providing close emotional support, monitoring student progress and being a source of reference. Technology in the essence is just a device and a device needs a proper management and proper use. The development of technology in teaching is not meant to replace teachers’, but to help students improve their language skills. In that case technology role and teacher role are meant to complete each other, not replacing one to another.


Please check the How to Motivate Your Students course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Train the Trainer course at Pilgrims website.

Tagged  Voices 
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