What was considered to be one of the noblest professions has now become one of the least preferred career choices. The teacher or guru who was traditionally respected after parents, and even before God, according to the popular Sanskrit phrase of Mata, Pita, Guru, Deivam, is now losing dignity in today’s society.
“Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.”
– Joyce Meyer
What if the chalk goes out of the equation and gets replaced with styluses? Will the teacher still hold the same power as before? It’s been speculated that with the advent of digitalization in education and learning, teachers might become redundant in the near future.
In this article, we burst this misconception and aim at understanding the new roles and responsibilities of a teacher in the world of today where knowledge is abundantly and freely available everywhere, every time.
Curators of Knowledge
There’s unlimited supply of good information on the internet. There’s also unlimited supply of bad information and influences. However, very few of us can differentiate the good from the bad.
This is one of the primary roles of today’s teachers.
The teacher of today is not confined by the textbooks. They can curate information and content from the most reliable sources from anywhere in the world and ensure their learners have access to accurate information that’s both engaging and educating at the same time.
We need teachers to guide students towards the right information. Teachers should be able to scan multiple sources of knowledge, filter out the best ones for their students as also create new content assets wherever required.
Teachers of today are knowledge curators and creators, who develop impactful learning materials that engage students and are easy to retain.
In addition, they should also prepare learners to acquire the right information even after their formal education ends, by equipping them with skills such as identifying reliable sources of information or detecting fake news.
Enablers of Personalised Learning
Different formats of information suit different kinds of learners as every learner has a unique learning style. A teacher should be able to identify the learning styles of students in their class and direct them towards the right information sources based on their preferences.
Digitalization in learning makes way for personalized learning. We need the observational and analytical skills of a teacher to fully tap into this potential.
Using technology and its tools, a teacher can ensure the learning needs of every child is met. They can record how the information is received by the class in real time as well as in assessments. Based on the results of this data, teachers can experiment with different pedagogical styles and lesson delivery techniques. This will enable them to make sure every learner in the class understands the lessons improving the individual and collective performance of the class.
Personalised learning is a powerful method to fill gaps in learning that make it difficult for learners to understand challenging concepts and lessons.
Proficient Users of Technology
A teacher in the digital world should be excellent with technology, if they want to leverage the benefits that technology has to offer in learning-teaching ecosystem. Majority of teachers have warmed up to technology due to the necessity emerged during the pandemic.
Now, it’s time to take this learning to the next level by getting familiar with different tools, technology and platforms that make time and task management easy and hassle-free for teachers.
Using technology to create compelling learning resources in different media formats, designing creative classroom activities, assignments and projects using tools, puzzles, quizzes, instant polls etc., enable students to nurture their creativity.
A good example for this can be cited from our learning platform Deetya, through which a teacher can direct their attention to things that matter the most through its Keep an Eye feature. Teachers can see a list of students exhibiting behaviours that are likely to impact their academic performances, such as missing assignments, low grades, poor attendance in class and so on. This allows teachers to keep the performance in check of the entire class and take timely action whenever required. Thus, impactful the learning outcome.
Such innovations made in teaching can become advantageous only if teachers are comfortable using technology.
Promoters of Lifelong Learning
Every industry is being penetrated by technology today. In a matter of a couple of decades, technology will be a key player in every industry and sector.
But, technology is also evolving continuously and rapidly.
The phones we used 2 years ago have different configurations and features from the phones that are manufactured today.
Therefore, in such a dynamic world, how can teachers prepare students for their professional lives? What skills do they impart that will be relevant 10 years hence?
Here’s where teachers of today have the opportunity to make a lasting impact. And this is the second biggest responsibility of a teacher of today. The first? We’ll get to it in a bit, but this one’s important too.
Teachers must instil in students the love of learning.
This is arguably one of the most important skills of today’s digital world. Nurturing curiosity to know and learn about new things is a great way to fall in love with learning.
This is true even for teachers. As 21st century teachers, one should keep learning, upgrading and reinventing themselves.
Collaborators & Community Builders
Teachers of today have to be collaborators and know how to facilitate collaboration. Gone are the days when the teacher talks and the class listens watching them.
The new-age teachers believe in the power of collaboration. They understand that skills such as problem solving, communication and analysis can be developed only in a collaborative environment. They also understand the significance of cooperative learning and stay away from promoting unnecessary competition among students.
Setting up collaborative learning frameworks through group projects, assignments and assessments becomes easy with technology. Learning together instils in students a strong feeling of community that binds the younger generation of the future enabling them to solve larger problems affecting our world.
The Ultimate Role – Developers of Character & Values
The society relied on teachers since ages to build character and values in the young minds amidst us. This is the most important responsibility of a teacher today.
Falling into the wrong hands is so easy with internet. It take special strength of character to do the right thing. Developing character and values is and will always be the most critical job of a teacher.
All said and done, technology is powerless in the absence of the teacher. To reap the benefits offered by technology, we need teachers who are trained to use technology in a way that resonates with the learners and their learning needs.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids to work together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
– Bill Gates
TeachPro+ is a community portal dedicated to the growth and development of teachers. We have recently launched our Teacher’s program called iTeach 101 which an increasing number of professional educators, trainers and coaches are benefiting from. If you’re interested to know more about it, you can check it out here.