Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eight Habits of Highly Effective 21st Century Teachers

With this blog posts come a great article as well as some news concerning my career.

First of all the great article! When I was at Region 16 ESC one of the trainings we offered was a Web 2.0 Boot Camp. I have written about the details of this training in the past, but I bring it up now because we ran a 2009 version as well. One of the participants of that course shared some great bookmarks with me on delicious and one of them was right up the alley of this blog.

Eight Habits of Highly Effective 21st Century Teachers is a great article written by Andrew Churches who is in charge of Information Technology at Kristin School in Auckland. He believes that teachers who strive to be considered a "21st Century Teacher" exhibt the following eight qualities:

  1. Adapting
  2. Being Visionary
  3. Collaborating
  4. Taking Risks
  5. Learning
  6. Communicating
  7. Modelling Behavior
  8. Leading

As I reflect on these 8 qualities, I realize that these are qualities we also want to encourage in our students to be successful in the 21st century. My question is, then, does this mean that to be able to successfully prepare our students for life after school, we must also be willing ourselves to step outside the box of traditional teaching? I will even go as far as to say the task is near impossible to prepare students for the 21st century life for the strickly traditional teacher.

As I've mentioned before, I am not saying that things "we've always done" should go out the window, but I encourage and challenge today's teachers to take a long hard look at what you do in your classroom and ask yourself:

How is this relevant to learning?
is the purpose of this task?

If the answers to those questions do not reflect a 21st century type of learning, then maybe it's time to retire that lesson. With the way things change so quickly, it is no longer "okay" to create your lessons once never to have a look at them again.

Do you have any other questions teachers should consider when evaluating their lessons according to 21st century learning and education?

Now for the news! I have left my job at Region 16 Education Service Center. There were many reasons behind my decision to leave - some of them personal - but one of the main reasons is because I would like to focus more on instructional technology and the job, for various reasons, was turning into a grant management position. While grants are necessary and very helpful, I found that I was not able to focus as much on getting technology into the hands of teachers and changing classrooms. After much discussion with my husband, I felt this was the best move for me - both personally and professionally.

I do have plans to stay heavily involved in the Instructional Technology world, though "the plan" is 100% ready to go so I shall refrain from discussing that until it's all ready to go. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to teach some online professional development classes for Texas Virtual School. This has helped keep me busy during the day (though I've been plenty busy trying to get my house in shape after moving into our new house in March), plus provide some extra spending money.

Stay tuned for further developments and hopefully you'll see more and more posts with some great information!

Go forth and be a great 21st Century Educator!