If online language instruction fails, people will lose their jobs, because they cannot deliver the product being sought by the customer.
I wonder how many of us have thought about that. Are we indeed so entitled that we think we will retain our jobs after this crisis even if we don’t maintain order in and bring real results to our online instruction? Will the eventual return to the school buildings really save us?
Yes, the pandemic will be over one day. But, is not a possibility that our customers will find themselves, both parents and children, happier with online asynchronistic – Alisa’s term – educational products that don’t exist in real time, pre-made products like those made by Kahn Academy and the like? Doesn’t it feel like it’s all slowly moving in that direction?
The advantages that online instruction have will be countered, of course, by the need for babysitting services that can only be provided in brick and mortar buildings. Which suitor will win – the computers or the buildings?
I predict a slow decline in the amount of school buildings in our nation over the next ten years, as the economy goes further and further south. When the decline is looked at objectively after those ten years have elapsed, we will see that a massive amount of language teaching jobs have disappeared.
That is not good for us, but one must ask if we have been doing a good enough job in reaching our students in the first place. The clear fact is that we in language education have not, and if it weren’t for the need for babysitting services, many of us would deservedly be out of jobs, because we deliver such shitty language products and have for decades.
If I were still working, I’d be looking around for the absolute best way that I could find to teach a foreign language online, a product that I could reach kids with no matter what setting I end up teaching them in.