The educational process has always been influenced by new technologies and methods of conveying knowledge. Nowadays, it undergoes revolutionary changes due to digitalization, which threatens to replace the traditional classroom teaching method. Similar situations have happened before, for example, with the invention of printed books or videotapes. Digital media is used in many aspects of modern civilization, and education is not an exception, yet it is crucial to realize its limitations.
The Internet has opened many possibilities for people to further expand their limits of the notion of education, from digital resources to cooperation among educational facilities of different countries. However, the importance of face-to-face contact during learning has been underestimated in light of these innovations. This essay will discuss why the traditional classroom teaching method plays a crucial role in the educational process and should not be dismissed.
While online teaching provides several benefits, findings suggest that it is harmful to the process of transferring knowledge. Online interaction does not qualify as a sufficient means of personal interactions between students and teachers (Sorina et al. 1051). Sorina et al. argue that “communication among students is as important as a dialogue between the student and the teacher,” especially in acquiring social skills (1052). The lack of empathy has a negative effect on the quality and length of communication, and it severely impairs the process of education.
The traditional classroom teaching method creates a suitable space for discussion and debates, which are essential means for nurturing knowledge. Teachers and students convey as much information during these interactions non-verbally as with their words. Moreover, it gives teachers an opportunity to work with students on a one-on-one basis efficiently by promptly answering any arising questions and providing necessary explanations without delay. Live conversations, especially with a teacher at hand, have a more significant impact on knowledge retention.
Student activities and involvement in the studying process constitute a significant portion of knowledge attainment. In face-to-face situations, both students and teachers are getting more engaged in the process. Research conducted by Jensen et al. (2019) has shown that “the social element in student-teacher relationships can affect student motivation, engagement, satisfaction and (indirectly) learning outcomes” (p. 8). Jensen et al. (2019) state that “the shared space and physical co-presence inevitably includes some social interactions” (p. 9). Therefore, offline teaching leads to a higher quality of education.
One of the most crucial benefits of the traditional classroom teaching method is that it promotes general social interactions. Sorina et al. argue that it provides “the educational space for students’ and teachers’ joint activities and co-creation” (1050). Classrooms create an atmosphere that is more formal and stimulating for students. Therefore, this atmosphere works better for keeping students attention focused on the subject of study. Through physical interactions, teachers can emotionally connect with their students and acquire adequate feedback.
Online education cannot replace the current learning process, as personal knowledge, which is transferred exclusively through personal interactions, disappears from the equation. Sorina et al. argue that “advocates of radical reforms seemed to ignore the fact that the primary function of any educational process is promoting the ideas of socialization” (1051). Despite the efforts of online technologies to mimic close interactions, they cannot replace direct physical contact.
Educational facilities need to realize the need for physical interactions to preserve the quality and continuity of education. Jones and Bennett argue that online learning can be harmful “when activities designed for face-to-face interactions are uploaded without considering how the scope for learner engagement might be altered” (194). Jones and Bennett state that “there is little evidence to suggest that face-to-face communication is becoming an outdated or less preferred teaching method” (199). While digitalization in the information age is inevitable, the educational process must be considered as something that should be done mostly in person, unless there is a particular need for going online.
In conclusion, the traditional teaching method has been proven to be an effective way of teaching, and physical interaction plays a crucial role in education. While the significance of non-verbal communication and the personal relationship between a student and a teacher tends to be underestimated nowadays, it continues to play an essential part in the educational process. As books once revolutionized education without replacing face-to-face interactions, online teaching technologies can serve as an additional tool for offline teaching to provide the best possible outcome for future generations.
Online technologies already support and enhance the traditional classroom method. Many educational facilities have taken a step in this direction by creating online communities to connect students and teachers, providing digital resources for study, and integrating Internet technologies in the studying process. However, at this point, the integration of online education should be considered sufficient, and further advancements may potentially de-anthropomorphize knowledge. Sorina et al. state that “online courses could be used for popularising science,” and they help in promoting education, yet cannot replace proper courses (1051). The way of delivering information must include the most fulfilling option, and the purpose of a class should be a priority. As the traditional classroom teaching method provides more motivation, which is the utmost crucial part of education, it must stay as the primary way of learning.
Jensen, Lise, et al. “Seeing Through the Eyes of a Teacher: Differences in Perceptions of HE Teaching in Face-to-Face and Digital Contexts.” Studies in Higher Education, 13 Nov. 2019, pp. 1–11, doi:10.1080/03075079.2019.1688280.
Jones, Angela, and Rebecca Bennett. “Reaching Beyond an Online/Offline Divide: Invoking the Rhizome in Higher Education Course Design.” Technology, Pedagogy, and Education, vol. 26, no. 2, 2016, pp. 193–210, doi:10.1080/1475939x.2016.1201527.
Sorina, Galina, et al. “The Information Era: Correlation Between Online and Offline Education.” International Conference “Education Environment for the Information Age,” Moscow, 4-5 June 2019. The European Proceedings of Social & Behavioural Sciences, 2019, pp. 1049–1054, doi:10.15405/epsbs.2019.09.02.118.