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Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Expert View

What does it mean to be a 21st century teacher

Manav Rachna International School

By Dr Suchitra Bhattacharya, Principal, Manav Rachna International School

Education in the 20th Century was teacher-centric where the focus was only on the content with a fragmented curriculum and children working in isolation, memorizing facts. There is a completely different dimension with the approach the 21st-century education.

Today’s focus is on the real world and inferences drawn after practical application of materials provided to the children. 21st Century education is student-centric with real life approach, it is relevant and collaborative project-based learning. The role of a teacher is very is very different now. It  has changed from merely dictating in the class to a fecilita tor creating space for the students to learn by doing.

Are you a 21st Century teacher? If you are ready to Learn How to Unlearn, you may be allowed to enter the arena for teaching to the students of today. The next question that needs to be asked is what does it mean to be a 21st Century teacher? Are we ready to think critically, if one is creative and can take the responsibility to facilitate and inspire learning or ignite the creativity in the minds of young learners only  then  can you  do justice to the  students of the century.

A 21st Century teacher will need to Adapt to the present day requirement to replace books with technology.

As mentioned earlier, today’s educators will need to be Lifelong Learners like their students and stay updated with the trend and know their subject very well. Which means there should be thorough knowledge of the subject they deal with, keeping themselves with all necessary research happening in the same stream or else they are limited to the degree knowledge of their times, which is insufficient for those they are facing.

Today’s teacher should herself first be able to work well within a team and Know How to Collaborate. Over the past decade, this important skill has grown rapidly. Learning is deemed to be more effective when you can share your own ideas and knowledge with others.

Are You Forward Thinking, is another question that every educator should ask to fit themselves and find apt for the students of the present generation. Thinking about their students’ future, she needs to be aware of the multiple career opportunities existing and also try to see beyond what may arise from them. Educators need to constantly do research themselves and plan to ensure that no child is left behind. Their lessons should be research oriented on their own subject as what they have learnt has seen much advanced course and change. Such acceptance of the fact will give them the ability to guide the students.

A 21st Century teacher  should have the skills of Critical Thinking, haveCreativity, and know how to work in Collaboration.She needs to be flexible, Media Literate and have thorough knowledge with Technology. The teaching strategies should be able to teach all her learners to implement technology and foster Student Relationships. An educator today needs to advocate not only the educators but also their profession.

A present day teacher has to accept change and adapt to create their student’s future ready and enable them to maximize their potential for both formal and informal experiences. The Whole Child Education policy will be followed by the teacher to make the students fit for the global society. The characteristics of 21stCentury  teacher is to be a felicitator, a contributor or even an integrator.

Knowing and embracing change with great communication skill only will be able to create inquisitiveness in the child mind with self disciplined thoughts. 21st century teaching means teaching a combination of the traditional teachings using today’s tools and technology. It means utilizing all that is important for the present generation children so that students will be able to live and prosper in today’s economy, develop research skills and are prepared to synthesize information because they need to succeed in this global society.

So how can you promote 21st century skills in your schools?

A school leader will have to set up Personal Learning plans that empower teachers to seek out up skilling opportunities and set concrete learning goals.

A good school organizes peer teaching activities, where teachers can chat with and observe their colleagues to see how each teacher incorporates 21st century skills into their classrooms. It has been observed that sharing your own expertise and communicating and learning from others is an important part of the learning and teaching process. Schools should provide space and resources to enhance research skills both for teachers and students, having full range of digital tools available to improve student engagement and improvement. Educators need to understand that a 21st century education is about giving students the skills they need to succeed in this new world and helping them grow the confidence to practice those skills with all the information readily available to them where students need to focus more on making sense of that information, by using and sharing it in a smart way. We need to teach our children to take initiative and develop entrepreneurship skills. To be confident is a much need because it brings in an overall personality which s an important skill required to succeed in this new world.

In contrast to what it used to be before, students can no more succeed by focusing  only on learning the content with little regard to the usage, instead today’s focus is on real world and practical application of the material being presented. Teacher centric education with fragmented curriculum is replaced by Student centric education where each child is centered with real life, relevant, collaborative project-based learning. Students need to be taught to have agility and adaptability and deffinately excellent oral and written communication skill. Perseverance, artistry curiosity, imagination and personal expression is the need of the hour.

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