What are the traits that would make for the ideal 21st teacher? What does an educational professional need to be or do to tune in and synchronize with the new realities silently emerging inside schools and educational environments?
Photo credit: Lisa F. Young
The profound, deep shifts we are starting to witness across all of the established educational institutions, pivot around four key components:
1) Learners driving. The new learner is transforming himself from a passive actor into an active, is becoming a conscious leader of his personal lifelong learning path.
2) Deep access to information, tools and experts in ways not possible before.
3) The ability to network and team up with other learners who have the same interests, independently of their age, location or experience.
4) The emergence of the professional independent (teacher) mentor / guide. Both outside and inside traditional educational institutions a new breed of guides, coaches, facilitators and advisers is already emerging and creating new classless learning ecosystems.
These new "teachers" think, act and perform their multiple roles of guides, facilitators and learning advisers with a spirit and attitude that is radically different from the one that is typical of the traditional, classic educator.
Andrew Churches challenges the status quo and paints a detailed profile of what this new breed of professors is going to look like.
By Andrew Churches
What are the characteristics we would expect to see in a successful 21st century educator?
We know 21st century educators are student-centric, holistic and they are teaching about how to learn as much as teaching about the subject area. We know too, that they must be 21st century learners as well. But highly effective teachers in today’s classrooms are more than this - much more.
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.
Educators must be able to adapt software and hardware designed for a business model into tools to be used by a variety of age groups and abilities.
Educators 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.
Imagination is a crucial component of the educator of today and tomorrow.
Educators must look across the disciplines and through the curricula; 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.
Educators too, must be collaborators:
There is so much to learn. How can you as an educator know all these things?
Educators expect their students to be life-long learners. Teachers must continue to absorb experiences and knowledge, as well. They must endeavour to stay current.
I wonder: "How many people are still using their lesson and unit plans from five years ago?"
To be a teacher, you must learn and adapt as the horizons and landscapes change.
To have anywhere, anytime learning, the teacher must be anywhere and anytime.
The 21st century teacher is fluent in tools and technologies that enable communication and collaboration. They go beyond learning just how to communicate and collaborate; they also know how to:
There is an expectation that teachers will teach values, so we must model the behaviors that we expect from our students.
Teachers are often the most consistent part of students' life, seeing them more often, for longer and more reliably than even students' parents.
The 21st century educator also models tolerance, global awareness, and reflective practice, whether it is the quiet, personal inspection of their teaching and learning, or through blogs, Twitter and other media, effective educators look both inwards and outwards.
Whether they are a champion of the process of ICT integration, a quiet technology coach, the 21st century educator is a leader.
Like clear goals and objectives, leadership is crucial to the success or failure of any project.
Originally written by Andrew Churches for Interface, and first published on July 15th, 2008 as "Eight habits of highly effective 21st century teachers"
About the author
Andrew Churches teaches Computer Studies at Kristin School in Albany, Auckland. Andrew also blogs at Educational Origami. He is a skilled presenter with several keynotes and presentations held about the future of education.
Andrew Churches -
Eight Habits of Highly Effective 21st Century Teachers - Andrew Chuches
Adapting - Ljupco Smokovski
Being Visionary - Dusan Jankovic
Collaborating - Irina Tischenko
Taking Risks - Chiropractic Life Blog
Learning - Cathy Yeulet
Communicating - Yuri Arcurs
Modelling Behaviour - Immajestic
Leading -Andrey Zyk