Principals on Board

The most valuable resource that all teachers in the 21st-century need is collaboration

Nindiya Saket
The most valuable resource that all teachers in the 21st-century need is collaboration

Innovation and creativity in teaching are essential for both the students and teachers. The innovative teaching methods improve the education system and galvanize the learners to achieve the human development goal for the country. The traditional teaching methods focussed more on memorizing. However, with accelerating technological change in today’s world, we require an improvement in the teaching-learning process.

21st-century facilitators need to serve as a guide or mentor for their students, not as the all-knowing sage providing them with all their information. The pedagogy aims to develop the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in work, life, and citizenship.

The first step toward innovative teaching methods would be a relevant curriculum. Both teachers and students benefit from the use of generative topics and reinforcement of relevance. Teachers like this method as it allows for the freedom to teach creatively and the students find learning more interesting, engaging, and above all something they can apply, rather than simply possess.

Students learn better with peers. They can discuss concepts in pairs or groups and share what they understand with the rest of the class. Self and peer assessment would inculcate healthy competition amongst learners. They can develop arguments and debate them. Together, students and the teacher can use a studio format in which several students work through a given issue, talking through their thinking process while the others comment. Roleplay is another pedagogy wherein the students will understand the psychology of characters.

Teaching with technology offers the potential to provide students with new ways to develop their problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills. It engages students with different kinds of stimuli-involve in activity-based learning. There are many other examples of web-based forums through which students and their peers from around the world can interact, share, debate, and learn from each other.

Generation Z –born between 1995 and 2009- most of them do not remember life without the internet and have had technology like smartphones, iPads, smartboards, and other devices available throughout most of their schooling. Generation Alpha – born in 2010-they are younger than smartphones, the iPad, 3D television, Instagram, and music streaming apps like Spotify. This is the first generation likely to see in the 22nd century in large numbers. They are skilled with technology and comfortable with global and intercultural communication.

The coalition P21 (Partnership for 21st-century Learning) has identified four “Skills for Today”:

  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

These four integral themes should be overlaid across all curriculum mapping and strategic planning.

Facilitating learners with how to learn concepts. Educating learners for the 21st century requires teaching them how to learn on their own. Teachers can develop students’ metacognitive capacity by encouraging them to explicitly examine how they think. Students benefit from believing that intelligence and capacity increase with effort and that mistakes and failures are opportunities for self-inquiry and growth rather than indictments of worth or ability.

Innovative teaching pedagogy in the 21st century also includes brainstorming about ways in which the learners might apply a concept to another situation; generalizing broad principles from a specific piece of information; drawing analogies between a topic and something different; studying the same problem at home and at school, to practice drawing parallels between contextual similarities and differences.

Experiential learning is a widely practiced method of teaching that supports students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding of real-world problems. MOOC is another learning method in Higher education that promotes active learning, where the learner watches videos and engages in interactive exercises.

21st-century schools are also responding to demand by moving into international education. ISC Research has tracked these changes in their research. In the past, international schools were primarily for the families of military personnel and diplomats. In the year 2000, there were 2,500 international schools globally with fewer than one million students attending, but in December 2016 there were over 8,600 international schools with almost 4.5 million students.

The facilitators in the 21st century have been called a promoter of the Avant-garde. The innovative pedagogy would also incorporate Cooperative learning also known as collaborative teaching; whereby learners exchange and collaborate ideas while learning. Student chosen text is also one of the recent innovative pedagogies. This will enhance independent reading and critical analysis.

Educational influencers also suggest how to use a concept map in a classroom. It enables the learners to organize their ideas and represent how ideas are connected. The pedagogy encourages them to use the concept to summarize what was read. The flipped classroom is another feather in the cap when we talk of the 21st-century practice of teaching: an instructional strategy and a type of blended pedagogy, which aims to increase student engagement and learning by having learners complete readings at home and work on live problem-solving during class time.

“The most valuable resource that all teachers in the 21st-century need is collaboration. Without which our growth is limited to our own perspectives.”

Each of the innovative methods in this article uses a strategy in which learners question, research, use technology and create meaning from provided materials and research. Twenty-first-century pedagogy must also allow students to solve problems, challenge themselves and present their findings to others.

Education is a very powerful tool for social change and innovative teaching methods are the only way to enhance the quality of our education and develop creativity amongst learners. 

About the author:

Nindiya Saket is Principal of Manav Rachna International School, Sector - 51, NOIDA

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