We have noticed that 21st century learning is different because the audience in our classrooms and lecture halls differs from students we had 10-20 years ago. 21st century learning emphasizes the development of such skills as critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, and digital literacy. We assume that communication, collaboration, and negotiation skills students must learn from their daily educational activities which involve project work, discussion forums, and peer reviews.
The list of required skills can be easily expanded, and educators’ need to equip learners with all these skills which will help them to live successfully in the rapidly changing world.
Modern learners need teaching and learning environment which is motivating, supportive, and engaging.
Our students use technology in their daily life for communication, entertainment, education, and hobbies, and they expect the same level of technology involved in academic activities. Unfortunately, the educational sector is not ready yet to provide the required level of technological solutions for teaching and learning. We’ll discuss what are the best teaching and learning strategies for the 21st century which meet expectations of Millennials
Teaching strategies to accommodate requirements of the 21st century
Modern educators’ must align their teaching strategies with the 21st century requirements and foresee how new developments will affect education. Educators must be aware of the trends in the job market and advise students accordingly. The main responsibility of educators’ is to apply teaching strategies to ensure that the focus is on preparing the new generation of learners for the future. They must be able to adapt their teaching strategies and apply different modes of learning and adapt to new technological advances.
Reaching all learners
21st century educators’ must have the ability to recognize and appreciate students’ unique learning abilities and styles. They have to consider learning approaches which meet better to individual learners in terms of pace and learning mode. Technology can help to accommodate learning which is happening outside the classroom setting when it is needed.
Educators must be able to use the latest tools which help students to learn better and faster. Modern educators’ must know how to efficiently implement and incorporate technology into the learning processes. While technology plays an important role in learning and creates new and opportunities, technology alone cannot guarantee a successful learning. There are many technology-based instructional tools for teachers to support learning and help learners create new knowledge in collaboration with their peers.
Preparing for the future challenges
21st century educators’ are able to prepare students to live successfully in the changing technological world. Students must learn how to embrace the changes and adapt to it efficiently. Very important aspect is the readiness to learn independently and adjust your skillset to the market needs. Lifelong learning will define the future success of each individual.
Modern educators’ must demonstrate excellent collaboration skills and work well in a team. Collaboration is considered as an important 21st century skill and teacher’s personal example can motivate students to participate collaborative activities. It helps also to enhance learning since it involves sharing ideas and knowledge with others.
Educators of the 21st century
I still remember my teachers: distant, serious, unapproachable, and cold. No, not all of them… I had some teachers who were different and always looked happy, friendly, and human. Even now, after almost 50 years, I still remember them. But it was a different time and different environment… The question is: What characteristics the educators’ of the 21st century possess?
I believe that ability communicate effectively – is the primary requirement, it is the key to develop a friendly learning atmosphere. A successful educator is able:
- to build a rapport with students,
- easily connect with his learners, and
- recognize and understand learners’ needs as individuals.
Another important aspect of the teaching is getting students engagement. Apparently, it is a quite challenging task since modern learners have short attention span; they can quickly get bored and disconnected. It is teacher’s task to find interesting activities, games, multimedia resources to keep students interested and focused.
Nothing is more refreshing than a good dose of humor to lift up the mood of learners. Humor helps to sort out certain problems, it builds students’ confidence and positive attitude towards the subject.
Educator is expected to deliver instructions in a clear and precise way. When teaching Millennials, it is advisable to avoid ambiguous instructions. The same applies to the class behavior and ethics – don’t give long speeches. Explain clearly what is expected of your students.
It is expected that students will be receiving regular feedback regarding their performance and progress. Positive feedback is very important, it supports confidence, encourages to work harder, and develops interest.
To make students active and responsible, the teacher should give them chance to express their opinion and participate in the decision-making process.
It seems that educators’ role combines a lot of responsibilities, and there is a noticeable shift towards monitoring, support, advice, and counseling.
Modern learning strategies
Traditional approaches emphasizing memorization and the use of simple applications will not develop learners’ critical thinking. Modern learning should include real-life experiences supported by collaboration and engagement. It offers opportunities for learners to construct new knowledge, engagement in research, analysis, report writing, and communication.
Important aspect of modern learning is student-centered approach which gives learners control and responsibility over personal learning. Implementation of problem-based learning and project-based learning enhances accountability and develops time management and planning skills. Additionally, these learning approaches to support the development of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. During project work, students learn how to define problems, to reason using clear arguments, and plan their learning activities.
Since collaborative learning attracts the attention of educators’, project-based and problem-based learning support different models of collaboration: between learners, learners and teachers, and learners and external participants.
Collaborative learning is a form of learning when knowledge is built through an interactive, collective knowledge-building process. It prepares learners for real-life social and employment situations, and it is a sample of learner-centered approach. Students learn to monitor each other, detect errors and learn how to correct their mistakes.
Modern learning strategies cultivate creativity and innovation
Innovation and creativity are important competencies of our century. It means that educators’ are prepared to disrupt traditional approach and encourage learners to improvise and think out of box.
We need to teach students to create knowledge and generate ideas and concepts. There are different practical approaches which can promote active learning, creativity, and innovations:
- Support interaction that includes hands-on and problem solving opportunities;
- Create opportunities for practical field work — take students out of their comfort zone and their own environments;
- Organize roundtable discussions and encourage students facilitate discussions;
- Allow students to create some questions for an upcoming test.
Developing creativity and innovative thinking is a very complex process, and it requires transformation of the learning environment, development of new teaching and learning strategies.
Educational systems are undergoing transformation to meet the requirements of the 21st century. Modern learning must be relevant, engaging, effective and learner-centric. It is essential to transform traditional classroom models of teaching and learning with new more learner-centric. Education needs to adopt a flexible curriculum and provide learning that is personalized and self-regulated.