Becoming a 21st Century Teacher

Immanuel Nghitotelwa Nakambale

The age we live in is developing so rapidly that we cannot always keep track of all the changes taking place.

New technologies and new trends are being fashioned, purportedly to simplify our lives.

As a result, the 21st century is called the age of information technology.

Importantly, 21st century teachers should know that pupils are the most valuable stakeholders and should be the centre of our focus.

As long as education revolves around pupils and their holistic growth, it will never weaken in value.

I want to positively remind teachers that teaching in the 21st century is a different phenomenon altogether, especially given the increasing exposure to technological advancement.

The trajectory of education over the last 20 years has changed a lot – from textbooks to tablets; from chalk and dusters to padlets; from green boards to smart boards; from taboos and stigmas to open discussions; from being intimidated and apprehensive to being confident and inquisitive; from teacher talk and monologues to active learning and flipped classrooms.

MEETING THE MOMENT

A lot has evolved.

I therefore encourage teachers to develop new teaching strategies that are different and meet the moment.

We need strategies that facilitate effective learning and develop pupils’ higher order thinking skills, effective communication, collaboration and other skills. Above all, teachers should become tech-savvy in order to effectively embrace technology.

This can help improve their lesson planning and even give a personalised touch to learning.

To effectively put theory into practice, teachers should follow global educational approaches.

This will help provide a platform for pupils to embrace a global competitive advantage.

Furthermore, teachers need to be creative by employing teaching approaches that can awaken critical thinking among pupils.

This will allow pupils to think outside the box and to perceive the world from multiple perspectives. Moreover, teachers’ creativity and innovation allows pupils to tap their inner strengths from picture planning to meticulous organisation.

CONTINUOUS DEVELOPMENT

If we teach today as we were taught yesterday, we run the risk of robbing our children of tomorrow.

Educational leaders such as regional education directors, circuit inspectors, school principals, heads of departments, subject heads, teachers, as well as school board members need to ensure that they make the necessary adaptations that facilitate effective teaching.

Continuous professional development (CPD) in the 21st century offers teachers the tools and skills to keep up with the needs of pupils and professionalise themselves in planning ahead for changing trends in education. Besides, CPD boosts teachers’ confidence, commitment and dedication, which adds to their credibility through the learning of new skills and attaining professional designations.

Pupils taught by globalised citizen teachers will become globalised citizens with a global competitive edge who can positively contribute to ever-changing societal needs.

– Immanuel Nghitotelwa Nakambale is a researcher, consultant and author.

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