Gone are the days of the teacher knowing it all. Gone—or at least we hope, are the days of rote learning. We live in a time where we are inundated with a wealth of tools, and the world is literally at our fingertips. But what does this mean as a teacher? While we are at an advantage with all the learning tools available we are also faced with increasing challenges that come with accelerated change and technological advances. How do we keep up as teachers in a world that is accelerating ahead at alarming speed?

At this anxious time, we can look back on history to enable us a fuller more enriching understanding of where we are now and face the future with a little less anxiety.

jeshootsFrom Confucius to computers

What better place to start than with Confucius. The Chinese educator and philosopher based his teachings on discovering the self. In the Analects of Confucius, it was stated that “A gentleman studies for his own sake, not in order to impress others, and seeks for it in himself and not in others.”  So instead of knowledge for knowledge sake, it is more a case of education as a means to discover one’s self. This is more than relevant today. Living in a globalized world it is of supreme importance to equip students with a sense of self. As the world is more connected, knowing who we are as an individual is crucial. As a teacher, helping students discover themselves and what they stand for in a space full of plentiful but contradictory ideas is paramount. It also begs the question: what has become of the way that we teach, when the way that we learn is constantly being shaped by technological advances?

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From knowledge banks to knowledge guides.

One of the biggest most obvious shift in the teacher/pupil relationship is that of the teacher as a dispenser of information to the teacher as supporter and guide. The exciting part is that teachers get to be creative in their endeavours in how they can enable students to find their own way. The less exciting part is trying to navigate that in a world of data and standardized tests, with ever increasing external pressures. What tools do use to support yourself as a teacher?

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From explaining change to embracing change.

As the famous quote goes, change is the only constant. Teachers are faced with great challenges if they don’t embrace the change around them. Young students now are digital natives so keeping up with the environment that we ourselves were not born into requires constant adaptation and moving with the times. Back in the day religious rhetoric was key in the classroom. Questioning the teacher was limited. How far we have come! We now expect the students to question, question, question and critical thinking, while a bit of a buzzword is also the phrase of our time.

Having to navigate the vast world of lesson planning, reviews, data analysis, observation, testing and parents can be overwhelming alongside having to stay up tosamuel-zeller-106867-unsplash date with an ever-changing environment. How do you use professional development to support? To read more on professional development click here.

Do you think being a teacher today requires more preparation than in the past?  Although the past was encyclopedias in the classroom and today is search engines from a tablet, the same remains true that through creativity and inspiration the teacher’s role is to inspire and provoke students desire to obtain knowledge and use it in a way that is central to their context.

What’s in your toolbox? What strategies do you have for teaching in a modern, international classroom? We would love to hear from you. Reach out at editor@teacherhorizons.com



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