Technology is changing and impacting the way we do things in everyday life and the classroom is no exception. Technology is removing the four walls of a classroom, providing easier access to wonderful content, enabling better collaboration by teachers across the world and providing more and more digital resources for schools, teachers and students.
Students of the 21st century are termed technological citizens, with the ability to access digital content being second nature to them. Also, they spend a good portion of their day on visually engaging content either on tablets, phones and TV in various medium which could include social media GIF, photos, movies and video games. This has made engaging them in the classroom using the formal/traditional method of teaching very challenging and demotivating for the children. To successfully teach these children teachers must adapt to the way these children learn and remain engaged.
It takes creativity innovation and adaptation of technology to the teaching and learning of the children.
How prepared are you for the challenges of 21st-century teaching? Here are 10 Signs that you are a 21st Century Teacher:
- You know how to utilise technology in the classroom and are familiar with the tools that make teaching easier, smarter, and better – you can take field trips with your students to places such as Great Wall of China without leaving your classroom.
- You encourage creativity – allow students to express themselves and their thoughts in an authentic manner. Whether it be through notetaking, drawings or discussions, cooking, presentations, videos, etc.
- You are more interested in teaching the process and use lots of open ended questions to get children to think. And you provide your students with opportunities to learn skills and think on their own
- You utilise unconventional learning materials to teach the lesson to help your students think outside the box and engage more deeply with the lesson- TED talks, podcasts, Games, interactive videos, etc
- You make learning relevant and applicable to the real world
- You utilise flipped classroom approach to devote more ‘in class’ time to deeper understanding of concept and applying knowledge through activities and resources that are relevant to the way each child learns
- You let the children choose their project topics while you guide the application, analysis and creativity. This gives the opportunity for ownership and differentiation.
- You encourage your students to collaborate – to communicate, express their thoughts and ideas with each other. And also, peer teaching.
- Share what you have learnt with other teachers and are willing to ask other teachers for help.
- You are committed to a lifetime of learning and you always seek new ideas and new ways to improve your teaching capabilities.
As a 21st Century Teacher, you understand your role is not one of teacher Vs student where you stand in front of the classroom and talk, but that you are the facilitator and you provide an enabling environment where children are confident to share and develop their knowledge and understanding with their peers and independently in the way that suits the way they learn.