Let’s consider the classroom of 20 to 60 years ago or more. Except for the very brightest in the class most teachers “knew more” than the students they taught and therefore the challenges of teaching were not as great as they are today.
The dialogue in educational communities is often around how do we best develop teachers for the future?
This question can arise when reflecting on the pace of the growth of technology and its place in student learning.
How do teachers keep up? How do teachers prepare students for their future in a world very different from the one in which they live now?
This is a very noble and worthwhile question, but in many ways it misses the point.
Arguably the key question we should be asking is: How do we develop teachers to teach now?
Why in this blog are we taking this perspective and not the more common perspective of developing teachers for the future?
Today because of the pervasive nature of technology, its accessibility and its power for learning there is now a huge group of students who know more than their teachers in many areas and this group is not limited to the very brightest. It encompasses a very wide cross section of student ability.
This is an incredible challenge for teaching – now. How do we develop teachers now to teach these students now?
We do not want to be misunderstood. Many of our current teachers of course are perfectly capable of teaching this group of techno savvy students, but we argue that a substantial number of teachers are not.
There is urgency to the knowledge and skills some of our teachers must develop now to adequately teach this current group of students. We cannot fail them!
What are some of the key pre-requisite knowledge and skills our current teachers should have?
Firstly, today’s teacher needs to know a lot about technology, its potential for learning and must not be afraid to experiment with it in the classroom. This pre-requisite may not get into a traditional list of the top 10 essential qualities for a good teacher, but we can’t see how you can argue this one away. We encourage you to embrace technology in your teaching and get on with it now – quickly!
Are you a serious, competent learner yourself? If you aren’t, your ability to assist your students is diminished. The best teachers today model learning for their students now.
Today’s teacher must be able to teach a student how to learn so that every student can move along at their own pace. Have your students learned how to learn? Are you teaching them the strategies for this?
Of course we know this list of pre-requisite knowledge and skills can go on and on and we may not have picked the three you would pick, but if the above three key things are the three key things you do as a teacher, you are going to go a long way in developing yourself as a teacher for today’s students now.