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The important role of a teacher in the 21st Century Education

The important role of a teacher in the 21st Century Education

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So here we are…the 21st Century Education is the “new” way of learning and teaching. What do we mean when we talk about this revolutionary education?

First of all, it’s not a new but an adapted approach to this rapidly changing world. So let’s take a closer look at this: Teachers used to be the owners of content and the ones responsible to transmit it to their students. As a teacher, you stand in front of your class and teach while your students (hopefully) pay attention.
But today there is no way to compete with the Internet! It is all there, there is so much overwhelming information of any possible kind out there. A paradigm change is important and necessary.

And again, what are we talking about?

Instead of teaching content, students need skills and literacies to deal with all this information in this extremely fast-changing world.

Can you already see the extended role a teacher has today?

But let’s begin with all kinds of thoughts, fears and resistance teachers might have when it comes to talking about change:

  • Do I need to do this?
  • I don’t have time for this…
  • I don’t know what I should change…
  • My teaching worked for so long that I don’t have to change anything…

So here comes the big question: Do you remember why you decided to be a teacher?

The other day I came across the “Golden Circle“. Simon Sinek states that most of the companies know WHAT they do, in most cases they know HOW they do it, but very few companies know WHY they do what they do.

I realized that this “why” question should be used, not only for companies but for our daily lives. Before we go for the what and how we should have a very clear idea about the why!

If we translate all of this into teaching, why did you decide to become a teacher? What drives you to go to school every day? Are you aware of your own feeling when you make an impact on your students? How do you feel when you go back home after a long school day knowing that your students were engaged in the lesson?

Regarding your students you can ask the following questions:

  • Why my students don’t get motivated?
  • Why do my students need a different way of learning?
  • Why should I include the 21st Century Education in my teaching and learning?
  • Why would I make a difference doing this?
  • Why….?

This Golden Circle can be the push you need to get involved in 21st Century Education and more than anything, get your passion back!

Thinking about it, writing it down, keeping it in mind at all time. It will give you the new energy and needed motivation when things don’t flow easily. It happens to all of us at some point, no matter what we do! The hardest part is to overcome our own resistance. Once we get that out of the way, we’ll find the rest of the journey much easier and can begin to engage. That passion will support your willingness to learn!

So if you remember your big WHY, we can continue to talk about 21st Century Education.

If all the answers are already online, we have to think about asking better questions. The only way to find what we are looking for, is entering the right question in Google search, right? Although we entered the right question in the search box,  we will receive hundreds and thousands of answers in less than a second….so? Next step is to filter them, classify, evaluate,  and the list goes on.

We are now talking about contemporary literacies (network, information, media, global and digital citizenship) and skills (communicate, collaborate, create, critical thinking and connecting) needed to prepare your students for THEIR future.

Teachers today are key drivers to help students develop all these skills and expose them to these new literacies. Students are not just information consumers anymore. With your help, as their teacher, they will be producers in many types of media. They will possess the skills needed to be digital citizens.

You will have to learn these skills and literacies before you can teach them. This happens one step at a time, at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want. Always remember that your learning equals your students’ success!

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