So what is the future of teaching? Some people think they know:
Motivation and discipline still lie at the heart of becoming a good musician. And it is here that technology still falls short of a traditional teacher’s care and attention.
In fact, technology in some ways makes the problem worse. Devices have made it so “kids can’t focus,” says Albany, N.Y., guitar teacher Jason Ladanye. “They don’t make kids the same way anymore. They don’t see the value in doing the work.”
Kids these days! So tell me: when have the majority, or even a significant minority, of kids “seen value in doing the work”? When, exactly, was that Golden Age?
But then we move on from the Grumposaurus to the Utopian:
Mr. Hutter, the venture capitalist, says that problem is solvable. He cites new studies that show social-network interplay — wisecracking banter among students — unlocks a greater ability to retain knowledge. “If you’re learning and engaging in a social community, that lights up the brain. That is the magic of this moment.”
Right, and this is why people take group music classes, as are regularly offered at, for instance, the wonderful Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, where I’ve studied a number of times over the years. But how might that be translated into online experience? Am I to strum with one hand, fret with the other, and tweet with a third? Or do I have a twelve-way Skype conversation in which I am trying to listen to myself, trying to listen to the teacher, and trying to listen to the “wisecracking banter” of my fellow students? Just tell me how this is supposed to work.
Over time, perhaps, the traditional guitar teacher may become less of a gate keeper of knowledge and more of a motivator of the distracted student.
Teachers will be coaches, not priests.
So when were teachers ever priests? What does that even mean? I guess I always thought that teachers are … you know, teachers. It’s a common word, and generally understood, or so I have assumed.
This is what all too much tech journalism amounts to: quote someone who barks that technology is sending us all straight to Hell; quote someone else who croons that technology is going to solve every problem; draw some abstract, evasive, and incomprehensible conclusion. Journalists these days! If only I had lived in a time when every journalist was a Walter Lippmann or Edward R. Murrow. O tempora! O mores!