The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 repeatedly states the need for 21st-century skills for students. This inadvertently implies the need for these skills for teachers as they are the ones teaching these skills. According to NEP 2020, ‘‘The aim of education will not only be cognitive development but also building character and creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st century skills.’’
In the last few decades, technological and industrial developments have brought immeasurable change to our lives, prompting us to move with the times and equip ourselves accordingly. For example, most strikingly, the pandemic completely toppled years of pedagogical experience to a screen. It forced us to adapt to a new mode of communication — remote learning. This way of teaching and learning saw many issues like lack of community-based learning, maintaining students’ attention, and connectivity issues.
But, even before remote learning, it was not like students in classrooms could engage with their courses completely, most learners responded that they liked art class, music class, their friends, and such. Very few actually liked studying because their learning modules failed to connect their education with real life. The visible disconnect with learning that we see now is something that needs attention and is something that can be solved through applying 21st century skills by teachers.
The world is moving away from transmission-based learning into learner-centred experiential- learning, which is known to have positive and lasting learning experiences for students. Experiential learning requires skills like critical thinking, design thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and more. These are the 21st century skills that the NEP 2020 states are important for future jobs and for building a holistic and multidisciplinary learning experience.
Teachers face multiple situations every day when handling their students, for which they need to think on their feet to come up with solutions. Introducing creative methods of teaching in class like live science experiments, a walk in nature to learn about plants, and such can create experience-based learning, which is proven to have better learning experiences and learning retention among students.
A classroom is always in a state of flux with lots of disruptions, discussions, and new ideas. Having classes that don’t have set structures and flow freely with discussions, learning activities, and learner-centred teaching keeps students engaged and excited to learn. Flexible classrooms allow for curiosity to grow and thoughts and discussions to play out.
Since one student learns differently from another, teachers need to be mindful of the different personalities of their students to help them learn better. With changing curriculums each year, teachers need to adapt their teaching methods to suit the needs of their students.
Having a collaborative classroom allows students to think across subjects and actively link their learning with each other, accounting for interdisciplinary learning. This can be achieved by building a curriculum that not only teaches children concepts and information but by creating a fun and engaging classroom where subjects can be taught using each other, like having a puppet show for history or teaching biology through exercises and more.
Being a teacher also means having conflict resolution skills to help solve problems that might arise in the classroom and to ensure that students learn their teachings in a comfortable and understanding environment.
Problem-solving can also be applied while teaching and assessing students. For example, instead of having written assessments, you give students a situation in which the subject they are being tested on can be converted into a situation which needs solving. You can then ask your students to come up with a solution and present this solution in a play, presentation, or arts and crafts project.
Incorporating 21st century skills as teachers not only makes your classes appealing but helps in teaching children the same. It also allows teachers to develop the skills to keep up with the changing education industry as well. We at Dalham have developed a program called “Educators Enhancement Programme” to help teachers equip themselves with these skills, launching in September 2022. It includes skills like critical thinking, design thinking, collaboration, communication, leadership, creative writing and more. To know more about this program, write to us at email@example.com.