According to the Glossary of Education Reform1 ,the term 21st century skills refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed—by educators, school reformers, college professors, employers, and others—to be critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programs and contemporary careers and workplaces. Generally speaking, 21st century skills can be applied in all academic subject areas, and in all educational, career, and civic settings throughout a student’s life.
Frankly speaking, these skills are connected with a teacher’s life, too. Nowadays, as you know, it is very difficult to teach. Teachers in the 21st century face challenges that their predecessors did not. The new 21st century students must master more than the core curriculum to succeed in secondary and postsecondary institutions, as well as in the workplace. More than that, the Glossary of Education Reform1 mentions the 21st century skills concept is motivated by the belief that teaching students the most relevant, useful, in-demand, and universally applicable skills should be prioritized in today’s schools, and by the related belief that many schools may not sufficiently prioritize such skills or effectively teach them to students. The basic idea is that students, who will come of age in the 21st century, need to be taught different skills than those learned by students in the 20th century, and that the skills they learn should reflect the specific demands that will placed upon them in a complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society. So, the teacher’s role is more important now than ever before. I guess, that we should and can help our students to obtain and develop 21st century skills. Our best approach is to ensure that students know how to communicate and collaborate with one another in both face-to-face and digital environments. They must be provided with daily opportunities to read, write, speak, listen, and view using many kinds of visual and written texts. Students must become increasingly comfortable searching for information, storing it, sharing it, producing it, and presenting it to a variety of audiences.
Thus, Anna Rosefsky Saavedra and V.Darleen Opfer2 found that “teaching 21st century skills will be challenging and exciting because it will be a new experience for both teachers and students” (p.16)To be an effective 21st century teachers, we must be collaborative lifelong learners and global educators. At the same time the modern teachers need to be able to work in teams, cooperate with colleagues and parents. I suppose working with new technologies is also important in relating to learners. As far as I know, technology advancements have touched every facet of life including education. This latter has been radically transformed and teachers who do not use social media and educational technology in their teaching no longer fit in the new system. That’s why every educator and teacher should not forget that simply teaching PowerPoint, Photoshop or programs like Audacity can not be the goal.
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.
1 The Glossary of Education Reform,
2Anna Rosefsky Saavedra and V.Darleen Opfer Teaching and learning 21st century skills: lessons from the learning sciences.
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. Therefore, teachers can never stop learning themselves, attending seminars and trainings on new developments in the profession.
I should add, I will try to involve my students in learning English in the best way. The roles of a teacher are rather complicated-from the controller to the facilitator.
As for me, I try to be the facilitator, because the primary goals are to promote students self-direction and intrinsic motivation, and will try to be the prompter to encourage students to participate in an activity and help them in a supportive way.
In conclusion, I have found some useful tips. According to Dan Morris and Susan Brooks-Young, even if money and time are in short supply, there are actions we can take to improve professional practice. In his blog “Metanoia”, educator Ryan Bretag suggests 5 strategies for making professional development part of every day. They are:
1.Learn something every day;
2.Establish or join a professional learning network;
3.Share an idea resource every day;
4.Take time to reflect – in writing – every day;
5.Model by sharing your efforts to be a 21st century learner.
The Glossary of Education Reform
Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/21st-century-skills
Morris, D., & Brooks-Young, S. Becoming a 21st century administrator (PDF Document). Retrieved from http://www.tech4learning.com/userfiles/file/pdfs/Resources/21st_century_admin.pdf
Saavedra, A.R., & Darlen Opfer, V. Teaching and learning 21st century skills: lessons from the learning sciences (PDF Document).
Retrieved from http://asiasociety.org/files/rand-1012report.pdf