What am I going to do as an English teacher to engage with the 21st century skills?
I am a teacher of the 21st century. What does it mean for me a 51 year-old teacher born in the 20th century?
Honestly speaking, it is very difficult to teach nowadays. Teachers in the 21st century face challenges that their predecessors did not. The new 21st century learners must master more than the core curriculum to succeed in secondary and postsecondary institutions, as well as in the workplace. The traditional three R’s have to be transformed into seven C’s: critical thinking and doing, creativity, communication, collaboration, cross-cultural understanding, computing (ICT-literacy), and career and learning self-reliance. Instead of teaching using chalk a modern teacher needs to be an information technology expert, a technician, an artist and an actor. More than that, I try to remember that I am a digital immigrant forced to work with digital natives. My students can do a lot of things working on their computers, tablets, mobile phones. Sometimes they say why they need a teacher when they have got a Google? Can it really be true? I try to follow them, even learn from them but sometimes they cannot understand me. I work harder but they study worse. I use modern technologies but they are bored during my lessons. A traditional Russian question – what to do?
The challenge for teachers today is to make lessons relevant to students’ everyday lives. Developing critical thinking skills in the 21st century is crucial because the world becomes more complex. Giving students an understanding of globalization will create effective future leaders because they will be capable of seeing things from a world view. We must maintain student interest by learning which prepares them for life in the real world. Besides, we must instill curiosity, which is fundamental to lifelong learning. And finally, we must be flexible in how we teach. Therefore, teachers can never stop learning themselves, attending seminars and trainings on new developments in the profession.
But I am convinced that the main skill for the teacher of the 21st century is to be a person. "Only a person can educate a person" (Ushinsky).
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