Devices in the classroom allow students to enhance their learning while giving teachers better ways to track individual achievement and personalise lessons. FILE PIC
REMEMBER those thick encyclopedias that adorn our bookshelves? They were once a part of every home that could afford them.
A huge investment for the family home and a vital part of any school library, they were the only way individuals could look up general information before the Internet.
Today, we can access so much content on Google or Wikipedia, using mobile and desk-based devices as tools, similar to what we once did with encyclopedias.
When the Education Ministry announced the plan to allow students to use their electronic devices in the classroom — an attempt to equip students for the demands of the 21st century — it invited more negative feedback rather than a welcomed change.
Judging by public debate and discussion, the reactions presented opinions based on an antiquated model for learning and teaching, suggesting as if very little has changed in a classroom since we last left schools. We picture classrooms where desks are faced forward with the teacher at the front, together with the blackboard and plenty of textbooks, pens and photocopied notes and exercises.
Children now entering schools are digital natives and computer literate. Most can handle a tablet’s touch screen before they even learn how to tie shoelaces.
In the digital world, globalisation and technological changes are having a major impact on what students need to know. We are standing at the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. Reflecting on this, it is not just about what we know anymore, but what we can do with what we know.
Hence, a wider curriculum is needed, one that focuses on 21st century skills — to be creative, critical and socially skilled to collaborate, communicate and solve problems.
In allowing these devices in the classroom, it is not just about shifting traditional lessons onto screens. It is about allowing students to make use of their devices to enhance their learning while giving teachers better ways to track individual achievement and personalise lessons.
For instance, teaching Shakespeare’s Macbeth would previously involve listening to the teacher talk through the themes. This would require intense concentration before writing your analysis. With technology, instead of the teachers doing the talking, the classroom can watch video clips depicting differing interpretations of a scene in Macbeth, using the Internet to research the themes before students present their interpre-tation.
The involvement of students in the learning process is then more compelling, leaving possibilities that allow their minds to wander, which is half of the battle teachers fight every day.
It also means that there is now a new picture of what it means to be an effective teacher for today’s evolving learning needs.
Planning and delivering instruction, assessing student learning and managing the classroom environment are typical of what a teacher does in and outside of the classroom.
In this 21st century’s new perspectives on teaching and learning, it is necessary to open a new window for thinking about how 21st-century skills and standards impact traditional teaching.
Teachers must abandon the mentality that they are only content experts and that their responsibility is to transmit knowledge. To remain effective where the 4Cs (creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration) and learning to learn are central.
Teachers must plan to be facilitators who provide scaffolding to support students in developing their own ways of knowing and thinking.
Results of from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment show that talented teachers and capable school leaders, even at the most challenging classrooms with social disadvantaged students, are key to challenge students with high standards and excellent teaching.
While teachers and parents favour small classes as crucial for a more personalised education environment, the highest performing systems tend to systematically prioritise the quality of teachers over the size of classes.
The key factor is not the size of the class. It’s the quality of teaching strategies, giving teachers less class time so they can focus on high-quality teaching.
Teachers must have more time to engage students individually, work with parents, work on reviewing lessons, analysing lessons, observing practice and so on. So there’s more emphasis on professional development, particularly for higher order thinking skills. It also means between classes of 30 with less-prepared teachers and classes of 40 with well-prepared teachers, we should go for the latter. Given the choice between a great teacher and a small class, pick the great teacher.
by HAZLINA AZIZ.
Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/04/233924/evolution-teachers-role-over-years