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Will Robots Teach English?

robotMachines have replaced bank tellers, parking attendants, and even grocery clerks. Will robots replace teachers? Some people think this could happen in the next 10 years.

If robots do replace teachers, it will probably happen in Japan first. Japan has an obsession with robots. A giant robot from the Gundam TV series is now overlooking the Tokyo waterfront.

There is already a robot teacher named Saya teaching in an elementary school in Japan. A professor from the University of Tokyo created her. Saya is multilingual and she looks like a human. She can discipline students, take the attendance, and display human emotions including: sadness, fear, anger, disgust, surprise, and happiness. She can also give out homework.

Instead of a personal computer or notebook by our side will we soon have a personal robot? This is the government’s hope in Japan. 35 million dollars was recently set aside for robotic intelligence in Japan. The government hopes robots will help the country handle the aging population. It also hopes robots will help the population learn English.

Would you want to learn English from a robot? Do you think the next generation of children will have personal robots at home?

Image: Flikr user firepile

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | July 2009
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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