In the 21st Century, teach
By: Lorelee D. Asignacion

If there is one thing this 21st century learning has opened, it is the opportunity to access the vast world of information available- the thing that is never there during my school- years but most of us have embraced today.

In the trainings I have conducted recently, I discovered the recurring situation where teachers themselves hunger for skills in ICT integration and its use beyond social network and gaming. I have discovered too, that there are basic ICT applications most of them do not know how to use and maximize. This is where the power of collaboration assumes greater weight. However, in the classroom setting where students are doubly hungry for learning, teachers must recognize the fact that they have to be five steps ahead, and that they have to learn the ways with which to make learning more than what has been gotten used to.

Inspired by my observations and what has been written in the journals that I have asked my students to write, I can conclude that learners of today need more than just content and concepts. Truth is, they are not the people we can just label according to the impressions we have gathered. They are, given the right learning atmosphere and opportunities, more capable of going beyond themselves. And if a teacher has sensitivity and pulse to take notice of the meaningful hints, he may realize that his role, more than shapes a nation, shapes souls.

So more than what is claimed by many as a generation that is too difficult to handle, the learners have to be dealt with deeper understanding especially when it comes to their learning needs.

Acknowledge them. The smile from a teacher matters to a young mind that puts so much respect to the one whom he thinks is the reservoir of knowledge.

Let them ask questions and give satisfactory answers. At times, it is not the answer to the question that means most to them but the ability of the teacher to connect- that act that will make them value not just the teacher, but themselves… and their self- worth.

Spread the world of wonder in the classroom. Let them exercise imagination and critical thinking. Feed and let them chew the ideas and give their minds time to digest what has been learned. It takes time, depending on the kind of learner but that’s just the way it is. After all, impatience is a concept that is not applicable when dealing with people, much more when they are young.

Never assume. Do not conclude that they know nothing. Never declare that they can’t do what is expected. You might be surprised how expectations are most often surpassed by those we least expect to perform. It just takes a little more amount of motivation and help. Give these generously and be the first person to stand proud for their achievements.

I remember the boys I used to have under my advisory class last year. All of them are athletes and were considered to be fit physically but less endowed with intelligence. Well, they are in college now and are doing well both in sports and academics. They still visit me time and again (mostly late afternoons or early evenings after their classes), and give me updates of their latest achievements. When asked about their grades, they simply tell me that as athletes, they cannot leave their subjects to the mercy of hit or miss. They have to cope with the cut-off grades or else they will lose all chances of joining their favorite sports.

Set the standards and make demands from the learners’ performance when you know they can. Challenge them to go beyond. Just make sure you show them how and teach them what to do. At the end of every activity, never forget to ask reflective questions, including the values that they have learned out of what was asked to be done.

Trust the learners. Allow space for them to prove themselves and show what they got. Those eyes full of hope are reasons enough for us teachers to let them give what they need to and get what they have to.

Keep them wanting more, eager and excited to learn. Engage them! Make them part of the journey in the lesson and let them know their ideas are worth your attention. My classroom is seldom quiet because I let my students work collaboratively. I let them talk, express their feelings and ideas, share their experiences, draw conclusions from given situations, relate selections into real life. It’s fun and it doesn’t make me less of a teacher when I allow them to do that. I let them use their devices and gadgets to access information and enhance their outputs. I marvel at their work. I rejoice at every inch of progress they make. It gives me fulfillment. It offers me new perspectives and lets me cherish a profession that does not only give me access to the joy of seeing lives transform, but also make me embrace zest and zeal to serve day after day after day.

Now tell me, isn’t it happiness to teach in the 21st century?

Lesson: The bits and pieces of today are the pillars of tomorrow.

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