How can I possibly make my illustration of a 21st Century Learner and 21st Century Teacher come alive?
First, I have to face the challenge of deepening my knowledge of the subject I am teaching. I can mix the old textbooks, my personal library, new materials, newspapers, magazines and the internet. BUT, I should always be fastidiously selective. Why? The new textbooks can't be trusted fully as they have not been thoroughly edited . Some of the lessons assume, too, that the learner has mastered a grammar point and sometimes, one grammar or literary point pops repeatedly and unnecessarily across the different units in the book. What happened to the pool of so-called writers of these new textbooks? Have they been so pushed against time? Furthermore, some sites on the internet have to be reviewed as they have errors that need to be rectified. One time, my students could not pin down the exact birth date of Leo Tolstoy. They wailed as they waved their different sources from the internet. Solution? I relied on what I have learned and I extricated my Grandmother's reliable literature book which she used as a Literature professor. The information on the book's yellowed pages settled the issue.
Second, I have to go beyond my limits and come up with technology-assisted tools for teaching.
Years ago, my nephews gifted me with laptops...second-hand branded, thick ones. Later, my husband and I gifted ourselves with identical lappies. I still have that projector from Japan which my nephew, Alvin, gave. It's as big as an old CPU, good for a small auditorium. I would bring those to school just to give my students a taste of modern instruction. I can still remember funny comments when I brought to school my old Dot Matrix printer. My students would ask, "Teacher, what is that? A typewriter?" And when they heard the squealing sound while printing, they went, " Oh, it must be a robot!". All of these big gadgets later found sleeping space in my house as they have affected my spine with their weight. No, don't get me wrong, I love them until today because they have superb resolution and speakers. And the printer was economical with its ribbon.
When thinner laptops with USB and other smaller gadget ports came out in the market, I had to have mine. So, today, I use my own new humbly affordable gadgets. I print my materials at home with my brother's PIXMA gift, or a 3-in-1 Epson which I recently purchased. Gone are the days when I would spend so much money for batteries for those big microphones and speakers. Just recently, a man made good money out of his portable speaker-receiver which can be donned like a mini satchel complete with lapel microphone. Teachers gladly scooped out personal funds just to have this addition to our 21st century tools. Some teachers enjoy newly-installed flat-screen Smart TV's instead of projectors. So, when you happen to drop by the INCAT campus, you will hear an interplay of electronic sounds and sights from the classrooms. Sometimes, you get the impression you're in a carnival, though.
Just remember, new gadgets are not the "be-all and end-all" in teaching.
There are lessons in the new K-12 manuals that excite me and there are those that are pure ho-hum which leads to... Third, I can spice up my classes through interactive lessons, blended learning techniques, creating a class website or a virtual classroom, holding elocution contests, launching literary fares, etc. So, what is my third tip really driving at? ENGAGE the students. Teachers are lecturers, innovators, mentors, and facilitators but they can do all these at the backseat. How fulfilling it would be to see a classroom with students who are eager to learn and after understanding each lesson, they are agog with self-propelling activities.
Fourth, I should not stop learning new ways to teach. If I have to duplicate myself, I have to find opportunities for Professional Development, paid or free. I hold on to a biblical line, Luke 6:40 "The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher."
Age does not define you as a 21st century teacher, your style does. Can you keep the vision alive?
copyright © Ritchelle Blanco Dejolde2014