Evolving Roles of Teachers in the 21st Century

Evolving Roles of Teachers in the 21st Century

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‘The teacher is the single most important factor in a student’s success’


Ever thought about your role as a teacher in the 21st century?  The  roles of teachers are evolving due to changes in technology and ease of access to information.  Classrooms of today are shifting from a teacher centered learning environment to a student-led learning environment.  The teacher today is expected to be more of a facilitator of student learning than gate keepers of information. Teachers of the 21st Century are to create an enabling environment where students can develop the skills that are relevant and applicable.  Here are a few roles teachers today are expected to perform:

#1 Creator of an Enabling Environment

A teacher today is one who creates  a safe, and engaging learning environment where learning can occur. A key requirement is to create rapport and meaning relationship with the students. The teacher will have high expectations for student behavior and academic achievement, but since she/he has created authentic relationships, the students will work hard to meet and exceed those expectations. He/she creates multiple learning experiences to create a positive and productive learning environment for all the students in the classroom

#2 Facilitator not Controller of Learning

The teacher role is changing from one where the teacher is in control of everything that goes on in the classroom to one where the teacher shares some of the leadership with the students. Students are expected to take responsibility for that learning through the use of projects, researches, group and pair work. The teacher’s role is guide learners to use available resources such as the internet, help students clarify ideas and provide feedback.

#3 Provokes Curiosity and motivation to learn

Today’s teachers are expected to prompt and encourage students to adopt practical ways of understanding issues. The teacher’s role is to provoke students to become independent, creative, and critical thinkers by providing experiences, such as problem solving activities that develop these skills.  The teacher’s role is to identify ways to engage and motivate the students to learn.


#4 Promotes Collaboration

One of the key skills required for the 21st Century is Collaboration. Increasingly, the teacher’s role is to promote collaboration amongst the students. Learning through collaboration is said to be one of the most effective forms of learning. Learning in groups enhances learning and critical thinking skills. The teacher is to provide collaborative activities such as debates, group projects, joint problem solving opportunities, etc

#5 Makes Learning Relevant and Engaging

Education is about making learning alive, relevant and connecting it to the real world. Learning does not have to be limited to the classroom. The teacher’s role is to look for various ways to make learning engaging and relevant – from connecting with schools and students across the world to school excursion, to bringing in subject experts to interactive games. The 21st Century teacher utilizes the effectiveness of all available technology to make learning relevant and engaging.

#6 A Leader and Education Advocate

Increasingly teachers are expected to take on  leadership roles in the educational community. The 21st Century teacher is expected to influence the culture of the school and school community. She/he must build strong relationships stakeholders and exhibit the competence and confidence to inspire and motivate everyone involved in the educational process. The 21st Century teacher is competence, confident, understands the needs of education in the 21st Century and is an asset to both the school and education community at large.

Success of students is the ultimate goal of education that can be achieved by an effective teacher. An effective teacher is not someone utilizing the methods and initiatives of the past, but rather embracing  and adapting to the needs of students today.