We have several generations of teachers currently leading the classrooms of the world. These teachers may have been born as early, for arguments sake, as 1930 and as late as 1985. It’s quite safe to say that all of these generations of teachers have experienced eras in time that are all far different than our current era – the current era of our youngest students. This phenomenon is only going to advance at a more rapid pace and the adaptability of our teachers to this learning curve will determine the value (or lack thereof) of our academic systems worldwide.
Call it “reverse education” whereby we are seeing for the first time in history that many students are more technologically educated than those responsible for teaching them, hence . . . it’s the students (whether they know it or not) educating or “raising the bar” for the teachers worldwide.
So in fact, the term 21st Century Education is more self serving than anything. It’s a buzz word for teachers to share amongst themselves in order to propagate higher learning, Ed Tech and in no uncertain terms, provide themselves with a sense of assurance that they’re getting with the program but more importantly . . . employable.
It’s inevitable that the Board of Education, on a global scale, have no choice whatsoever but to have their hands forced into a 21st Century Learning mentality or else face worldwide scholarly criticism of being archaic in and of their own profession.
The Tail’s Teaching the Old Dog New Tricks
There’s a fine line, a cutoff point at which any one teacher can truly understand the generation of the students they’re teaching. This is nothing new. It’s always been this way. The only difference now is, and it’s a very BIG difference, that technology’s changing the world at a rapid rate and has a direct effect on A) a students ability to learn and B) a teachers ability to teach. While we’ll never be walking parallel lines in unison , we do need to wake up and smell the coffee.
Hard as they may try, a lot of teachers are still trying to “wrap their heads around” these new concepts and who can blame them? Change is hard for a lot of people to adapt to whereas, kids ARE change. They adapt without even realizing it. It’s a fact that the older generation is “square” and always ridiculing the younger generation and comparing themselves as kids. We should recognize by now that this is irrelevant and has absolutely no bearing whatsoever other than the fact that is makes older people appear selfish and lonely, failing to go with the flow and progress.
While older people, teachers, parents, politicians etc. are here to guide the young, we’re not here to thwart their progress or to pass judgment on how different our lives were than theirs are now. This, in my opinion is the number one stumbling block that educators must avoid at all costs.
Would it be so embarrassing to have younger teachers educating the elder teachers? Sometimes the only thing standing in the way of progress is our ego. Music teachers needn’t feel threatened by the introduction of iPads and electronic music into their classrooms. Classic music lessons will never be replaced nor will the students desire to play a piano or violin, yet there needs to be accommodations made for the “New Musician” – the musician that taps on a glass screen to achieve the results they’re hearing inside their heads.