Designing 21st Century Education (Part 1)

In today’s classrooms, we can see a major shift in terms of the ideal pedagogy we are aiming for. It is no longer about transferring information and knowledge in the form of one-way communication through textbooks and worksheets. In order to prepare our students for the challenges they will face once they have stepped into the workforce, the 21st Century Skills are vital. The most sought-after skills in the current age are the abilities to learn independently outside of the classroom, work efficiently with the aid of technologies, collaborate with people for synergy, think out of the box for creative solutions and contribute to our surrounding communities through group projects.

In order for our humankind to progress at a good pace with the global changes brought by the advancement of technology, we should strive to prepare our students with the necessary skills to cope with the challenges in their future workplace. If we continue to be ignorant towards the importance of the 21st Century skills, we will end up jeopardizing our students’ future as we continue to treat every student like a container for information and knowledge. In order for our future society to be fully functioning, we require members who have the capabilities to see concepts in new, different lights, eliminate various problems as they arise, communicate with people of various cultures and belief systems as well as work productively by capitalizing on different pools of talents.

Technology is conquering our world and what can we do for our younger generation so that they will be more equipped to face the uncertainties in their future professional life? It is indeed our responsibility as an educator to keep ourselves abreast of the latest available technologies to create a classroom that is conducive for student-directed learning. We should no longer be enslaved by the syllabus we are trying to cover every trimester. Instead, we should make way for a learning environment whereby our students can make sense of new knowledge and information by relating them to the old ones so as to put them to good use through applications in daily lives or for solving world problems. Our ultimate aim as educators is to train up our students with qualities like creativity, intuitiveness, critical thinking, cooperativeness, empathy, imaginativeness, leadership and adaptability to changes.

As we work towards this vision of having the 21st century classroom accessible for everyone, the humbling experience reminds us to continuously be reflective of our own teaching methodologies and courageous in trying out new teaching ideas. This teaching journey will not be a bed of roses, but we can certainly learn from false starts as we continue to persevere and learn from our other counterparts. I believe that, as we walk down the thorny road, the trials and tribulations will certainly make us a more well-rounded educator and change the way we approach teaching for the greater good.

So, let’s take our first step towards creating the 21st century classroom for our younger generation.

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