The pandemic has brought to light an open secret which is that education has to become compatible with virtual landscapes. The educators have to adapt themselves to the demands of the technology-driven pedagogies and be ready to unlearn, re-learn, and upskill constantly.
We have seen pedagogies getting remodeled and curricula being augmented by technology in the course of the pandemic-induced lockdown. The syllabuses have been truncated to adjust for the loss of class time. The jury is still out on the uses of virtual learning in the time of normalcy, but it is hard to deny that the proficiency in using technological applications will play an increasingly defining role in deciding the success of teachers. The question that remains is that whether it will be possible to integrate the human element into the virtual learning practices. The capabilities of teachers in integrating personalized attention into the usage of virtual platforms will emerge as the key to excellence.
The need to upgrade
The hybrid learning models are now an undeniable reality in education. The virtual platforms and technology-assisted learning models have been around for some time, but they were at the margins or were seen as esoteric and elite approaches. The pandemic has mainstreamed them by making them exclusive for an extended period. Now, teachers have to integrate the use of technology into their pedagogical approach to navigate the novel landscape of education. It is in fact the upside of the crisis and it must be seen as a welcome change. The need of the hour is a change in the attitude towards technology-assisted learning and using it as a means to enhance the cognitive outreach of the lessons.
The hybridization of pedagogies comes about when the physical instruction meets the virtual and this should become a preferred model in the coming years. Now, the technology-based educational models need not be seen as supplementary, they must become a regular tool to enhance the learning outcomes.
Besides the technology-related skills, there is also a need for opening up the vistas for multi-disciplinary approaches to education. The teachers must leave their siloed approaches and enter a cross-disciplinary understanding of the subjects they teach. the disciplines intersect at multiple points and these must be brought into the focus of the 21st-century learners.
Another point where a shift in approach is required at a very fundamental level pertains to the use of real-world scenarios in education and the adoption of experiential learning. There is a major role in the operationalization of the experiences outside the classroom. Teachers have to be trained to use the modalities including the outside-classroom experience, experiential learning, and real-life applications of lessons.
The teaching mindset
The teachers must be expected to have the skill set which includes emotional intelligence, work-time-management, collaboration, leadership, critical thinking, and communication expertise for managing a 21st-century classroom. The educators across the board must begin to use modalities like multi-disciplinary instruction, technology-assisted pedagogy to hone the talents and fire the imaginations of the children.
Attributes of a 21st-century teacher
Constant training—teachers have to keep upgrading their skills and for that, the avenues like workshops, school networks, and communities for sharing of teaching-learning experiences must be utilized.
Collaborative and digital learning--With MOOCS, digital upskilling and implementing globally relevant teaching and learning practices
Focus on building social and life skills—teachers must be open to evaluations and psychometric assessments and build their critical thinking, time-management, emotional intelligence, and communication skills.
According to an estimate, if the current trends continue, globally there is going to be a shortage of over 69 million teachers by the end of 2030. The upskilling of teachers is the need of the hour and it is especially imperative for developing countries.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.