We have heard alot about the 21st Century Learner. We know that they are:
- Information, media and technology savvy
- immediate and instant
- require instant gratification
But what about the 21st Century Teacher, what are the charactoristics we would expect to see in a 21st Century Educator. We know they are student centric, wholistic, they are teaching about how to learn as much as teaching about the subject area.
The 21st Century teacher is an adaptor. Harnessed as we are to an assessment focused education model the 21st Century Educator must be able to adapt the curriculum and the requirements to teach to the curriculum in imaginative ways.
They must also be able to adapt software and hardware designed for a business model into tools utilisable by a variety of age groups and abilities.
They must also be able to adapt to a dynamic teaching experience. When it all goes wrong in the middle of a class, when the technologies fail, the show must go on.
As an educator, we must understand and apply different learning styles. we must be able to adapt our taeching style to be inclusive of different modes of learning.
Imagination, a key component of adaptability, is a crucial component of the educator of today and tommorow. They must see the potential in the emerging tools and web technologies, grasp these and manipulate them to serve their needs. If we look at the technologies we currently see emerging, how many are developed for education?
The visionary teacher can look at others ideas and envisage how they would use these in their class.
The visionary also looks across the disciplines and through the curricula. They can make links that reinforce and value learning in other areas, and leverage other fields to reinforce their own teaching and the learning of their students.
Ning, Blogger, Wikispaces, Bebo, MSN, MySpace, Second life – as an educator we must be able to leverage these collaborative tools to enhance and captivate our learners. We too, must be collaborators; sharing, contributing, adapting and inventing.
The Risk taker
How can you as an educator know all these things? How can you teach them how to use them… There are so many, so much to learn. You must take risks and some times surrender yourself to the students knowledge. Have a vision of what you want and what the technology can achieve, identify the goals and facilitate the learning. Use the strengths of the digital natives to understand and navigate new products, have the students teach each other. The learning pyramid shows that the highest retention of knowledge comes from teaching others. Trust your students.
We expect our students to be life long learners. How many schools have the phrase “life long learners” in there mission statements and objectives. We too must continue to absorb experiences and knowledge. We must endeavour to stay current. I wonder how many people are still using their lesson and unit plans from 5 years ago.
In my subject area, Information technology and certainly in many of the sciences, especially the life sciences; knowledge, understanding and technology are fluid and dynamic, they are evolving and changing. To be a teacher here you must change and learn as the horizons and landscape changes.
The 21st Century teacher or educator must learn and adapt.
“Anywhere, anytime” learning is a catchphrase we hear often. Usually its paired with “life learner”. To have anywhere anytime learning, the teacher to must be anywhere and anytime. It does not have to be the same teacher, but the 21st Century teacher is a communicator. They are fluent in tools and technologies that enable communication and collaboration. They go beyond learning just how to do it, they also know how to facilitate it, stimulate and control it, moderate and manage it.
We must model the behaviours that we expect from our students. Today and tommorow more so, there is an expectation that teachers will teach values.
We, are often the most consistent part of our student life. Teachers will see the students more often, for longer and more reliably than their parents. This is not a criticism of the parents rather a reflection.
What have I missed? What else is our 21st Century teacher?