What it takes to be an effective teacher in the year 2010 and beyond. Presentation by Group 6: H. Doidge, A. Cray, I. Erbasi, J. Gladman, J. Dingle.
Introduction As a society we are already living in the 21st century. The challenge of the education system today is to bring our schools into the same era. We live in a world that is throwing constant challenges at students.
Twenty years ago students were not faced with water shortage, climate change or terrorism on a global scale. The internet was not the phenomenon that is currently and technology was not nearly as advanced as it is today. Reflecting on the past allows us an insight into the future. Society today is confronted with issues that weren't as prevalent in the 20th Century, teachers need to remember this when educating students today. Teachers work to a curriculum, but they also need to provide bold, flexible, creative, challenging and complex experiences that will ensure that student's are prepared with the skills to be able to adapt to a future that no one knows what has in store.
This presents major challenges to both teacher and learner.
Characteristics of Professionalism Teachers have the greatest impact on student learning. By valuing the performance and building the capabilities of our teachers - particularly their expertise, intellectual development, professional judgement and networks - we improve education and training outcomes for students.
A classroom in 1914 For most pupils education was little concerned with creativity or intellectual development. Mass schooling in the Edwardian era sought to prepare pupils for their assigned place in the social and economic hierarchy.
A classroom in the 1960’s 1960’s typical classroom – teacher-centred, fragmented curriculum, students working in isolation, memorizing facts.
A modern classroom today Gone are the days where students simply attend classes and produce their assignments by ink and paper. Children as young as 5 years are getting exposed to this multifunctional machine.
Constructivist Teaching Constructivism is a valuable way of learning in which teachers take into consideration the fact that learners construct, rather than record knowledge. By incorporating meaningful and relatable experiments into their lessons, teachers can greatly benefit the absorption of information by their students. By using a constructivist approach, teachers also encourage students to facilitate their own learning by exploring their knowledge as either an individual or a group. Constructivism follows principle that learners create their own knowledge of topics based on their own ideas and previous experiences rather than receiving that knowledge from other sources such as text books, computers or teachers. The characteristics of this teaching style indicate that: Students construct knowledge that makes sense to them, any new learning will be based on currents understanding and a merge of the two will need to be achieved for learning to be successful. Social interaction is a great facilitator of learning constructively and can be very beneficial in helping students gain a thorough understanding of the topic. Meaningful learning occurs within real world tasks. Students will often absorb knowledge easier if it connects with experience to which they can relate to their everyday lives. (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009)
Constructivist Teaching Taking this into consideration, constructivist teaching and learning should involve:
Cognitive Constructivism Student Interaction When looking into the theory of cognitive constructivism a major component of the process involves a majority of the learning is undertaken by student’s working alone to interpret information by interacting with their environment to test and experiment with their understanding. Interaction between students is still a valuable learning process during cognitive constructivism as often comments and information raised by their peers can disrupt an individual’s current knowledge. These interactions act as a prompt for the student to individually re-thinking and reconstructing their knowledge to incorporate any new evidence.
(Eggen & Kauchak, 2009)
Cognitive Constructivism Cognitive constructivism, according to Piaget, is when a student individually and internally constructs knowledge rather than having it given to them by another source. It is important to note that this theory of learning often creates a dilemma for educators in that it is unclear of what role the teacher plays in this method. This method is often interpreted as meaning that students construct their own knowledge better through experience and discovery. This inevitably leads to the question "what is the teacher’s role?" and “is this a viable teaching method for the 21st century?” The answer is likely to be no. For another teaching method that is becoming increasingly influential in guiding teachers we can look at the values of social constructivism.
(Eggen & Kauchak, 2009)
Social Constructivism The benefit of social constructivism as a learning tool can not be underestimated and also looks to clarify the role of the teacher. Theorist such as Vygotsky believe that learners construct knowledge in a social environment first, before they individualise their understanding so that it makes sense to them (Eggen and Kauchak, 2009). Unlike cognitive constructivism, social constructivism encourages teachers to help facilitate student learning by encouraging and supporting social interaction between students. Students benefit from this style of learning as it promotes a learning environment in which they can exchange ideas with their peers as well as well as solving problems as a group rather than individually. It's follows along with the Bernard Shaw saying “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”(www.quotedb.com, 2010)
(Eggen & Kauchak, 2009)
21st Century Curriculum
The curriculum in the 21st century needs to be based around evolving technology. The curriculum needs to still teach the basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic but it also needs to teach students how to learn. Students need to learn how to access information that will enable them to learn. If students are taught how to use the technology that is available to them, they should be able to successfully access any information they require to learn. Technology is merely a tool for learning.
“School now have platforms where students have access to web pages, email, message boards, test and video conferencing, shared diaries, online social areas, as well as assessment tools.” (Pryce, L.) These are all learning tools to assist the curriculum of the 21st century.
Teaching Approach Teachers Approach To become an effective teacher in the year 2010 and beyond requires many skills. The teaching approach needs to be flexible and needs to be able to adapt to any situation. The teacher needs to be creative, critical, constructive, connected, and communicative and computer savvy. The teachers of the future need to be able to guide their students to learn. “Technology will never replace teachers. However teachers who know how to use technology effectively to help their students connect and collaborate together online will replace those who do not.” Teachers of the 21st century and beyond must teach their students how to find answers, how to problem solve. The old saying “give a man a fish; you feed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have feed him for a lifetime,” is appropriate. If teachers teach their students how to use the technology they have, successfully, then they will always succeed.
Modellingbehaviour The 21st century teacher “must model the behaviours that we expect from our students.” By modelling the values that we expect the students to use, we are teaching them these values. Modelling is “a general term that refers to behavioural, cognitive and affective changes deriving from observing one or more models.” (Schunk, 2004, p.88; Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. 2010, p. 181) We expect that teachers today and in the future will continue to teach their students how to behave and decent values. Often the teacher is the main person of authority in a student’s life. Hopefully these teachers will also model tolerance, acceptance, global awareness, respect and courtesy to others and a motivation to learn.
In the 21st century a good teacher needs to be very adaptable. The teaching of the future is based on social constructivism. “From a social constructivist perspective, creating learning environments in which learners exchange ideas and collaborate in solving problems is an essential teacher role.” (R Anderson et al., 2001; Meter & Stevens, 2000; Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. 2010) Teaching will become student-centred. The teachers become the facilitators. The students will actively learn by working as a group with their classmates. Teachers have to adapt their lesson around the way their student’s work is progressing. The teacher also has to adapt the curriculum according to the technology at their disposal. To be a teacher in the 21st century you must change and learn. “The 21st century teacher or educator must learn and adapt.”