With the ubiquity of technology and a growing integration of online teaching, training, applying, and learning, our students are required to learn new skills of communication. We need our students to be able to express themselves succinctly in writing, be able to build connections with little to no face-to-face interaction and the ability to understand tone in writing. However, a colleague of mine made an astute observation a while ago.
The need to build the ability to charm, disarm and create empathy is fading. Here’s her example:
“Deadlines are more important then ever. No longer can these kids talk, negotiate and charm deadlines to be extended because more and more deadlines are a technology. The portal to apply, submit, connect shuts down. That’s the thing with technology, sometimes there is no human on the other side.”
Are we doing our students any favours by extending deadlines because they ask us?
I think of my high school experience where I know a few of my teachers let me by a course because I was a nice kid. I was charming, polite. These skills have served me well. However, more and more, as technological tools create a buffer between humans, are those skills less valuable.
The same colleague made note, “When working in an online work environment, you have to fulfill the requirements, there is no wiggle room. Not only that, you have to fulfill all the requirements.”
There are more and more instances where technology is removing the “soft” skills that are a key element to public education.
So, the two questions I’m left with are: Do we start enforcing tougher deadlines and institute technology to help students remove the natural human elements of charm and negotiations or do we start to rethink and rework our technology and online courses to ensure a more human element to it?
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