If our goal as teachers is to not only to convey information, what is it?
As 21st century teachers, we need to develop skills like problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork but most importantly ,have excellent communication skills. Someone might ask “Do we not have them already?” Unfortunately, modern technology has changed that. We are in fierce competition with Internet, Google and all modern applications. Why should a student have to listen or follow a lesson when you can just Google it?
We, as teachers, of course can use modern technology to help us in this task, but we need to go up to and beyond these innovative methods because we, as humans before being teachers, have that unique gift of speech that machines do not have: speech with a meaning, speech that has to understand and be understood, to get across, to reach out, to read between the lines of that abstract thing we call ‘communication’.
Great communication skills means being a good listener, being friendly and empathetic, being clear, giving good and bad feedback and having good use of non verbal communication. We must remember that successful teaching is generally considered to require only 50% knowledge and 50% communication skills. Being able to do this has proven to have an impact students’ success they achieve in their academic lives as well as teachers’ own career success.
Teachers can do this by creating/building/enhancing good relationships in their classrooms, creating a safe learning environment, learning by playing games, roleplaying, show ‘n tell presentations, guess the object, debates on controversial topics: all activities that a computer cannot give or more importantly, cannot offer that human touch.
Are we ready to face this new challenge?
I think we already know the answer.
Teresa Platì - JUMP Trainer