Different Approaches Needed
I remember being a lecturer 25 years ago. Teaching was so much easier in those good old days. Teachers used a teacher-centered approach, the classroom remained in order. They took full control of the classroom activities, students were obedient and quiet most of the time.
Today, 21st-century teaching is a different phenomenon. Teacher and student roles are defined differently. Students are encouraged to ask questions, teachers practice student-centered teaching. Student-teacher interactions are preferred in a classroom.
With the invention of the Internet, learning is happening everywhere, all the time. It is not necessary for students to learn solely in the classroom anymore. They can get access to the topics they are interested in just a click away in the comfort of their own home. A great deal of information is available in digital form, with or without the guidance of a teacher, ready to be consumed by anyone.
Like any good student, a good teacher is a forward-thinking teacher, someone who is willing to learn, well-read and own the right attitude. Out of these three virtues, I believe attitude is the most powerful tools in teaching. It is said that the correct attitude is more important than intelligence. A conscious attitude will help teachers become lifelong learners, and foster the ability to accommodate the diverse learning styles of students. In order to help them develop higher-order thinking skills, we must be able to show students not only on how to solve problems, but why they should learn to solve their own problems.
In a modern classroom, it is essential for teachers to teach and promote critical thinking skills to students so that they are able to dig deeper in their learning in order to be successful in the global market. Ignoring the shift of the students’ needs and continuing to teach them using the conventional methods is like preparing them for a society that doesn’t exist. The world is changing fast, students are mastering more complex information. As educators, we need to close the gap and keep pace with our ever-changing society.
As a teacher teaching at an international school that uses an international curriculum, the curriculum is being revised every two years. New courses are created with materials that reflect the world’s diversity. We are moving towards a global classroom, where the knowledge of other cultures is celebrated. The aim of updating the curriculum is to help students foster global awareness, understand the importance of international experience and encourage them to explore new ideas and prospects.
Therefore, a 21st-century teacher is not just about using the Smart Board and turning on the laptop, but integrating technology into the classroom, and cultivating a growth mindset. This means being open-minded and flexible. It is a requirement, not an option.
It is impossible to prepare students to develop international mindedness and thrive in the new world if teachers teach a curriculum with a fixed mindset. A different result requires a different approach.
Article written for The Star newspaper www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2018/03/11/different-approaches-needed/