150 years ago, a classroom was set up as so: a teacher stood at the front, normally writing on a blackboard, and lectured to a captive, passive classroom who were expected to be silent and attentive. Despite a massive technological and societal change since then, this paradigm in the classroom, in many cases, hasn’t changed nearly as quickly.
Even in 2017, there are millions of students still sitting passively being lectured to and studies show that it doesn’t work. This isn’t the only way to teach, however, and there is a growing movement in teaching practice to adopt 21st Century teaching ideas.
What are these ideas though, how can you measure how deeply they are already incorporated in your classroom, and where can you still improve?
Knowing, understanding and using technology in the classroom is essential today. Student’s lives are filled with tech, from the moment they wake up they are on their smartphones, and it’s likely the last thing they’ll see before they sleep as well. Modern students are plugged in, and to better understand how they learn, and to be able to connect with them, you need to be plugged in too.
Bring tech into your classroom, and let your students learn actively, the way that they’ve grown up with. Things like smart-boards and virtual learning environments are key parts of a modern classroom, and allow teachers and students to work in the same space, rather than being divided.
Teaching isn’t just about data any more. The influx of the internet and tech means that you are no longer just imparting knowledge to your students. They can find out anything they want, anytime, from anywhere. What you instead need to focus on is helping them engage with this vast amount of knowledge in a constructive way.
Critical Thinking is one of the most important skills a young mind can be taught to have in this day and age, as is the ability to analyse what parts of information are useful and why. Your role as a teacher in the 21st Century is to help give them the life skills they’ll need in our rapidly advancing world.
Encouraging collaboration is an increasingly important compnent of modern learning. The individualism that once dominated the theories of learning is slowly giving way to the realisation that students and teachers work better when they’re working together.
Collaborative projects will almost always be better than ones tackled alone, and showing your students that can be incredibly valuable. In a world where society is changing, but its divides are deeper than ever, every experience that they’re better off working together rather than against one other is priceless lesson.
Just as they are students of life, so are you, and acknowledging that and learning from your classes as your students learn from you, can teach you lessons you’ll never find anywhere else.
Adaptability is a hallmark of any good educator in the 21st century. The ability to stay flexible and amenable to change in a world that’s advancing faster than ever before will ensure you continue to be a positive influence in your student’s lives.
This, like anything, will require work, but when a teacher is knowledgeable and sensitive to issues that matter to their students, it can nurture a respect that otherwise might never exist.
Being forward looking, at the end of the day, is perhaps the most important part of the equation here. Not only for yourself, but for your students too. Recognise that they are a generation that faces many uphill battles once they are out into the world, including economic stagnation, high unemployment and salaries that are no longer keeping up with cost of living.
Try to set your students up to be armed with the skills and knowledge they can actually use in the world they will live in, and you’ll have given them something they’ll always be thankful for.
Hopefully these ideas have helped you, but we know that the reality of a classroom is different from the ideal one. To that end, and to better understand that reality, we have a short survey that we’ve put together to see just how technology is being used in the