Seventeen years ago, we were preparing to enter the 21st century.
If you’re over 40 you probably remember stockpiling canned goods, bottled water and beef jerky, waiting for the giant cyber crash, while hiding in your basement (something to do with 100101010 binary computer code stuff I think). It never happened.
Well, a lot has changed since we entered the 21st century, including education. Gone are the poor educational practices of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s …
drill and kill
once a bluebird always a bluebird,
the ITA reading disaster,
while the students ate Balogna, Wonder Bread and Tang. God bless America.
Welcome to the 21st century. Hallelujah!
I believe we are on the edge of the greatest era of modern education. Great advancements have been made possible by brain research, analysis of best practices, and identification of effective pedagogy. All of this information is available to everyone, everywhere, at the click of a mouse.
I have made my short list.
I’ve boiled it down to my must-do’s. Four non-negotiables to become a 21st century teacher.
- Student Questioning: Teachers are always asking questions. How about we let our kids ask a few questions. Do you want to breath some new life into your boring lesson on the Industrial Revolution? Make a hard copy of the section of your text book your class is studying. Choral read and stop at the end of each paragraph or page and let your students right down their own Q’s. At the end of the session give them twenty minutes and a computer to do their own research. Your kids will love you!
- PBL: Project Based Learning. Kids learn content while they are doing the project. The project is a means of discovering content. PBL is based on a content-driven open-ended essential question. Instead of asking students What is friction? assign them a task of building a marble ramp in which it take 30 seconds for the marble to roll to the end of the ramp. (I did this project in 2016 with my 5th graders. They learned about friction)
- Student Talk: Student talk is crucial to student learning. Talking allows your students to transfer info from the working part of the brain to storage. As my high school writing professor use to say, If you can’t explain it, you don’t know it. To learn how to implement student talk in your classroom, follow the link to learn about Kagan Structures.
- Classroom Setup: No more rows. No more huge teacher desk at the front of the room. Small flexible grouping arrangements and cozy spots with small tables for project and partner work are now the norm. Place storage units of supplies at different areas around your classroom. Check out the following links to help you design your dream room! And there is always Pinterest!
Don’t worry if you haven’t joined the 21st century yet. It’s not too late! I didn’t get on board until about five years ago. Start working on one thing in the list above. Make a few changes. Do your own research.
Keep learning! It’s such a 21st century thing to do!
Leave me a reply down below. I’d love to hear about your classroom and your thoughts about 21st century teaching!
By Mary Kay Kane
all rights reserved. copyright 2017