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Being a 21st Century teacher

Being a 21st Century teacher

I have been asked several times at job interviews what it means to be a 21st Century teacher or learner. Quite often this is really getting at how do you use technology effectively in teaching and learning.

There are approximately 27 million Google entries for “Being a 21st Century teacher” so clearly this is something which is very much on people’s minds!

Whilst thinking about this I came across this diagram which indicates some of the things that a 21st Century teacher (trainer) should be aware of.


21st-c-trainers



After nearly 20 years of teaching I am convinced that my role is to:

  • inspire
  • engage
  • develop creativity
  • impart knowledge
  • help prepare young people for an ever changing world with different priorities from when I was a student
  • equip students for a life-long learning journey
  • model behaviours and attitudes for life beyond school
  • engage with technology in a beneficial way

There are so many “21st Century” technologies which students engage with on a daily basis and I often hear that it is the students who are teaching us the adults how to use it. In some cases this may well be true but as a 21st Century teacher I want to equip my learners to be discerning in the tools they use and in the ways that they use them.

Being a 21st C teacher is so much more than knowing what a selfie is and being competent in social media. For me, it is about knowing what new tools are available, what are the learning benefits of using these tools and how they can be used effectively in the classroom and beyond.

There is a mind-shift coming.

I recently spoke to a couple of CEOs at Cisco who were telling me how new Interns and members of staff were less likely to use the help desk services but would solve problems themselves through online collaboration. This speaks to me exactly of what it means to be a 21st Century teacher. I want to equip learners with the skills and desire to be self-motivated problem solvers, who make effective use of tools to do so.

So perhaps the image I used at the start is not too far from the truth. As a teacher I do need to know and understand the potential of using different social media platforms, of how to uncouple learning from the classroom, how to make effective use of students bringing their own devices to the classroom and how to fully embrace the same technology used at home to promote learning at school.


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