The term “21stcentury skills” is generally used to refer to certain core competencies such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving that advocates believe schools need to teach to help students thrive in today’s world.

What are 21st century skills and why are they important?
As our world recognizes increased globalization, 21st century learning refers to the skills and technologies that will position our students to succeed in a world that ever increasingly requires collaboration, critical thinking, adaptability, grit, perseverance and relies less on the learning of facts and data.

What Are the 4 C’s of 21st Century Skills?

The four C’s are:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Creativity
  3. Collaboration
  4. Communication

Critical thinking is all about solving problems.

Creativity teaches students to think outside the box.

Collaboration shows students how to work together to achieve a common goal.

Communication lets students learn how to best convey their ideas.

What does it mean to be a 21st century teacher?
21stcentury teaching means teaching as you have always taught but with today’s tools and technology. It means utilizing everything that is important in today’s world so that students will be able to live and prosper in today’s economy, as well as having the ability to guide students and to prepare them for the future.
The 21st Century Teacher is a Director of Learning

Their role is to enrich the learning experience by tailoring learning content to individual student needs, providing opportunities for enhanced learning through virtual field trips and other curriculum enrichment.

Why do we need 21st century skills?
These 21stcentury skills are more important to students now than ever before. They not only provide a framework for successful learning in the classroom, but ensure students can thrive in a world where change is constant and learning never stops. And they are also tremendously important for our nation’s well being.

5 Essential 21st Century Teaching Strategies

Before we can dive into what teaching strategies a 21st century educator should use, we must first take a look at what 21st century learning is. The term “21st century learning” has been used to refer to abilities students must master, such as problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and digital literacy. Some refer to it as the ability to collaborate, communicate, and demonstrate skills that will ultimately help students navigate their way in the future. The idea of what 21st century learning is, is open to interpretation and controversy. But what we can say is that today’s educators need to use teaching strategies to equip students with the characteristics and skills that will help them live in this ever-changing technological world. The only way that we can do that is by having our own 21st century characteristics and skills. Here are 5 of the most important teaching strategies 21st century educators should have in today’s classroom.

1. Teaching Strategies to Be Able to Teach to All Learners

Being a 21st century educator means the ability to be able to teach and reach all learners. That means the ability to differentiate learning so that all students are able to learn using their own unique style and/or by their ability or readiness level. In today’s classrooms, educators have learned that students learn best when they are taught to their own unique style and ability. Howard Gardner said it best when he introduced the world to the multiple intelligence theory. He said that everyone falls into one or more of these eight intelligences. An effective 21st century educator must have the ability to teach and reach to each characteristic and skill of every student in the classroom.

2. Be Able to Implement Technology

The ability to not only learn about the new educational gadgets that will help students learn better and faster, but to also have the ability to know how to use and implement the gadget within the classroom is an essential skill of a 21st century educator. An effective educator will have the know-how and the wherewithal of how to efficiently implement and incorporate technology into the classroom in a way that will be productive for all students.

3. Be Able to Foster Student Relationships

In a digital world where students can count the number of friends that they have by the likes they get on Facebook and Instagram, it is essential now more than ever for educators to be able to foster heathy relationships among their students. An effective teacher will have the ability to facilitate interpersonal relationships within the classroom so that students will have a sense of community and be able to communicate with their peers on a higher level than just social media.

4. Be Forward Thinking

A 21st century educator is able to anticipate the future and plan for it. They are able to push their students to ensure that they will be able to navigate their way through this ever-changing technological world. They have the ability to prepare students for the unknown based on current trends and technology.

5. Be Able to Embrace Change

The ability to embrace change is an essential characteristic of a 21st century teacher. With the rapid changes in technology and the way that students learn, educators must be able to embrace change and adapt to it, not only in technology but in education as well. Technology changes daily, as do new teaching strategies, testing techniques, and the way we are able to learn and communicate with others. An effective teacher living the 21st century has the ability to adapt to anything and everything as well as embrace it.

In short, if we as teachers take the time to foster these characteristics that are necessary to be an effective 21st century educator, then we have done our job in helping our students have the ability to live and navigate in a world that is forever changing. Having the ability to embrace technology or whatever may come our way, anticipate the future of our students, teach to reach all learners, have the ability to foster real, authentic relationships in a time where technology has taken over, as well as be a life longer learner, then we have done our job effectively.

What do you think are the most important characteristics of a 21st century educator? Did we get it right, or do you think there are other characteristics that are more important? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.


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