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The 21st Century Teacher


By: Mubarak Abdessalami
            Most of the teachers nowadays are [let's use Marc Prensky's terms] "digital immigrants", so how can they teach "digital natives"? This situation is not that awkward, complicated or despairing; on the contrary it could be a very rich experience for both parts.

            Though they are not good at using technology, teachers have enough experience and good sense of direction to greatly allow them to help the students wisely and efficaciously manipulate the technological devices and software they are used to and they excel at.

            How the teacher can get to know and engage in the special requirements of the new generation is what makes the single-tasking teacher dealing with the 21st Century multitasking students different and difficult but not infeasible!

            The image of the old education system teacher has become inadequate any more and if she practices teaching the way she is used to, her efforts will surely have an adverse effect. Therefore teaching in the contemporary times is almost completely a new career. Contemporary teaching should have multiple roles to play apart from delivering knowledge which comes in a lower rank in the scale of the teacher's duties. All the search engines can deliver knowledge better. The teacher's title, thus, shifts from teacher or knowledge provider to monitor or facilitator. Her role is primarily to help the learners develop strategies and skills that enable them to understand, collect, select and choose among the provided knowledge and use it appropriately.

            To do that, the facilitator should own a bunch of traits that go beyond pedagogy to attain artistry. She should, through guidance and assistance, show the learners how to build up a wise understanding of their own learning profiles and develop a positive attitude towards their own abilities, talents and potentials so that they could achieve excellence. What a fastidious task! The shift or the switch is almost hard to accomplish overnight.

            To skip the old shallow learning to embrace modern deep learning is not that simple,

            As you can see, it is already a thorny durable distance to pass through. With all these rapid changes which do not seem to lose speediness, we are forced to say goodbye to old education systems' teacher image and yearn to trust, through engaging, in a new set of teaching methods tools and techniques set for particular qualified new brand type of teachers; teachers who should own special qualities to handle the new function of being an educator. It is almost a revolutionary approach to teaching.

            Now we need a new definition of what we could call the new era teacher. Here are some of the central traits of the qualified 21st century teacher:

            However, all these traits logically match and interconnect perfectly well. The teacher's image thus is completely a high definition digital one

            All in all, the new technologies have a prominent impact on learning and teaching as they imposed themselves as effective tools to make education fruitful, profitable and meaningful. They make it easy for most people to connect with education. They facilitate learning and make it even funny, a sort of games that urge people to be passionate and determined to engage in learning. They even make education possible for everyone outside school borders in some way. For example many illiterate people - in the old definition of illiteracy - learn a lot through the various TV programs and gradually become aware of the world round them.

            For teachers, these technology tools certainly boost up and remodel their work tremendously. Consequently it is high time we started to draw the new image of an active, interactive, updated 21st Century "digital teacher".


    What is it really like to be a teacher nowadays?    

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