21st-century teacher! The term itself is new to most of us. Obviously, for us who’ve grown in the 80s and 90s, or earlier, there was nothing like a 20th-century teacher, a 19th-century, or an 18th one. For us, there were teachers, regardless of the century, they might have belonged to. But, times have changed, and so has education. The 21st century, with a lot of other things, has brought drastic changes to the education system as well. So, when education has changed, how can teachers remain the same? They too need to change and develop characteristics that will help them thrive as a 21st-century teacher. What are those characteristics? Let us explore the answer to this question through this article.
You may be a great, affectionate, a loving and a caring teacher, but then you’ve got to be tech-savvy as well. Don’t forget, students have become smarter nowadays. Often, they learn something much before you teach them, and therefore they are pro-actively ready with the information. Besides, being tech-savvy also refers to developing the capabilities to use a lot of modern teaching tools, virtual classrooms, interactive videos, etc. to be able to leverage their benefits in the routine learning process, and to make your teaching more effective.
Use smartphones, and keep upgrading yourself. Your students must not think of you as an 18th-century teacher, as it may drift your students away from you, and you’ll never be able to create a mutual connection. So, if you are 21st-century teacher, be like one!
Gone are those days when teachers used to enter the classroom with a bunch of papers in their hands. Today’s age is digital, and by going digitalization, you refer to going virtual. Learn to minimize the use of papers, and reduce your paperwork. You might be used to use a lot of papers in the past, but not anymore. There are several tools out there in the web world that will help you prepare lesson plans, prepare and manage time tables, manage the attendance part of the students, and many more. But to do all of this, you need to take some initial efforts, and then you will be on your way to becoming a 21st-century teacher!
- Project-Based Learning and Guiding
Unlike the past, students today are quite independent when it comes to gathering resources, references, and answers through the internet. Hence, students may label your 20th-century textbook learning practices as obsolete. Today, students have access to information, and they can pretty much gather it to complete a particular project. All they need here is guidance from you, and for which, you must be prepared.
- Keep Innovating
If you keep innovating, learning with you will always remain a fresh experience for your students. Techniques such as experience-based learning, learning through interactive videos, discussing blogs, etc. will help you maintain a healthy and cheerful learning environment in your class. However, innovation isn’t an easy job. You must think a lot, and come up with great ideas to ensure that your students learn happily, and never forget the concepts you teach them.
Collaboration is the need of the hour. Together, a group of students can achieve much more than a single one. Technology promotes collaboration between students and teachers. It involves creating digital resources, projects, and presentations together with fellow students, and such an environment will give your class a real-world feeling. Moreover, students learn to collaborate. They enjoy those conversations, agreements, disagreements, etc. So, let them enjoy these experiences, while you guide them wherever and whenever required.
- Global Approach
The world is coming closer. If that is so, why should you confine your students to learning only about their culture, country, and language? It certainly is, and there are a lot of great tools available on the web that will help them learn different things. Nevertheless, as a teacher, you must be aware of those tools to educate children on how to use them for learning. So, the change begins from you and then is then passed on to your students.
- Continual Learning and Continual Innovation
Technology will keep evolving. The question here is, are you ready to evolve with it? If yes, great! If not, you must think, and start immediately. Ensure that you learn something new in the form of handling a new tool, reading a useful article, reading some pages of a book, etc. Anything that will add to your knowledge, and prosper you as a teacher and as a human being is good enough. Not much, but give yourself around 20 minutes to half an hour every day. These little time and thought investments will help you grow consistently.
We never said being a 21st-century teacher is easy. It is challenging, and interestingly, as teachers, yours is the first generation to do so! So, you don’t have anything refer to from the past, and which makes it even more challenging. But then, stopping or running away isn’t an option. Keeping up with time and trends is one. All the best!