Tony Gurr

21C TEACHERS – their skills, literacies and fluencies…

In Classroom Teaching, Conferences, Technology on 09/03/2012 at 5:45 pm

A few days back, I did a post on the 21C Skills Movement and its impact on teachers…this was essentially a “warmer” for the upcoming conference at Maletepe University in İstanbul (April 14th).

Now, some you cynics out there might have thought that this was a “plug” for the conference and my own keynote!

You’d be righthey, I have already told you that I am not adverse to a bit of “shameless self-promotion – when it’s done right (if nothing else – I am honest)!

But, the other side of the coin is that I genuinely want to support the growth of the 21C Skills Movement – in Türkiye. And, as I said, this type of forum is perhaps the best place to do this.

 

The “movement”, if we can call it that, has not always had an easy ride:

Luckily, I do not extend “voting rights” to many journalists on my blog – democracy is sometimes over-rated (especially when journos jump all over the ballot box – all to eager to cast their educational vote)!

I’m sure there are many out there in Anatolia (and that other “country” across the water – called İstanbul) that have expressed the same sentiments as Jay. Many of these people (perhaps) also do this for reasons of “shameless self-promotion” (the “wrong” variety) or (more likely) because they are “scared” of the “technology-monster”.

 

Let’s be clear. 

The “21C Skills Movement” is not simply a TECHNOLOGY Movementit is:

 

…a CURRICULUM and ASSESSMENT Movement

 

…a LITERACY and FLUENCY Movement

 

…a LEARNing and TEACHing Movement

 

It is a movement about ways of LIVING, ways of WORKing and ways of THINKing – and, for educators and teachers, also about making a real difference to the lives of those children, teenagers and young (older ones, too) adults that we LEARN with.

And, how “making” that “difference” needs to evolve over time.

 

Advocates and supporters of the movement have made their purposes quite clear:

 

And, while it is true that our current, high-priority literacies and fluencies are being evolved (on steriods) by technology:

…we all know, in our heart of hearts, that they must be contextualised within and aligned with those quintessentially “human literacies” (we have had for centuries) to be “meaningful”:

And, how FLUENT we are in these!

 

This is because…

TEACHing is ONE of these very jobs…

Anways, enough of all this talk of 21C Skills, Curriculum, Assessment, LEARNing and TEACHing – this post is about “ME” and MY “shameless self promotion”!

…it’s a bit about the pre-conference PLN I wanted to co-create with you!

 

Remember, the last 21C post I did centered on a few questions I asked people to consider:

  • What skills do TEACHers (in Turkey) need as we continue our march into the 21st Century?
  • How many of these skills actually relate to how we deploy and use TECHNOLOGY?
  • How many of them relate to effective LEARNing and TEACHing?
  • What do TEACHers actually think themselves – and what do their LEARNers think?
  • How effectively is TEACHer (and LEARNer) LEARNing being promoted and supported (in Turkey)?
  • What else needs to change to make the 21st Century “wishlist” a reality?

We have had some pretty interesting contributions (CLICK to take a closer look) to date.

 

A lot of them discuss “teacher readiness” (and “willingness”) for the broader application of 21C Skills in our schools, colleges and universities – as well as some of the “fears” that many teachers (understandably) have about technology in general. Some of the comments focus on to how we, as teachers and educators, “see” the role technological “tools”. These comments suggest (IMHO) that more teachers in Turkey need to embrace and get comfortable with continuous change by simply making technology a bigger part of their lives and “daily practice”.

However, as I read through the comments I noticed a number of issues that touch on the wider challenges of  professional development (PD) in non-technological areas – and the critical role that these will play in any successful implementation of 21C Skills in our educational institutions.

 

As such, and as we have now wandered into the “orman” of LITERACIES and FLUENCIES – I thought a few more questions might be in order:

  • What exactly are the literacies and fluencies that we teachers and educators need to prioritise? Are they the same as those our learners need to develop? Are there any that specifically apply to the way we “do” business across education – as teachers?

Breaking that down a little  may help us:

  • What should we “keep” that we already have or do?
  • What do we have or do now that we don’t want to keep?
  • What do we need that we don’t already have or do?
  • What don’t we have or do that we don’t want?

That should keep us going for a while…

 

As ever, if you are interested in reading more  – here’s a little list of some resouces on allthings21Cskills:

Tony’s 21st CENTURY LEARNing Library

Hope to see some of you at the conference.

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  1. Q. What should we “keep” that we already have or do?

    A. For me, modelling is so important. I think that’s true not only of modelling good language. We have to share our love of language and the intricacies of English its joys. Also, we need to know the students well, and have them share, so that we can have what they do be personal an immediate for them. The best way for us to do this is to share ourselves. When they know us, they will be more open to opening themselves up.

    Q. What do we have or do now that we don’t want to keep?

    A. Feeling that we must adhere to the “curriculum.” What is handed to the teacher, most of the time, has nothing to do with the students. We have to be brave enough to keep administrative directives in mind, but have the courage to diverge and make the stuff personal. The worst that could happen is getting fired. But, there are always jobs, better or different, for the good teacher.

    Q. What do we need that we don’t already have or do?

    A. Really think about and adhere to our personal philosophy of teaching. If we do not have one that is clear, get one! If we have one, stick to it and let it develop and grow.

    And, to truly reflect on why we are doing what we do, and how to serve the population we are teaching at the time. 8A can be entirely different in personality, ability and needs than 8B. And 8C, Allah, Allah!!!! Sticking to the curriculum for grade 8 will not serve each of the 8th graders as individuals very well.

    Q. What don’t we have or do that we don’t want?

    A. Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, share yourself. Even though we work in a traditional structure which we are striving to change, we cannot get sucked into the atmosphere of fear and going along with the past. Afraid of what? NO FEAR should be the teacher’s motto.

    Thanks, Tony. Blog is great. Well done, as your country wo/men say!!!!!

    • Praise the lord, brother Joseph 😉

      Philosophy of learning, being fearless (and breaking a few “rules”) and reflecting.

      Amen 😉

      T..

  2. Go in Peace, and serve the Language Lord.

    • Wow! Hocam we really (both of us) have to get “lives” 😉

      This is wonderful – so much thought, so much keyboarding (or did you use voice recognition software) 😉

      Thank you, thank you!

      T..

      • You’re more than welcome 🙂

        Do me a favour and give a detailed account of Maltepe University ELT Conference in your blog. I won’t be there, but I can follow your blog everywhere 🙂

        Z.Y

    • SORT OF RELATED:

      I GOT A MESSAGE FROM A FRIEND IN THE STATES FROM A MILLION YEARS AGO. SHE WAS A HIGH SCHOOL DROP OUT, BUT,SHE WRITES SO VERY, VERY WELL.

      IT”S FUNNY, ALL OF US IN OUR GENERATION, WHERE I AM FROM (NY AREA IN THE USA) AND BEFORE, WHETHER HAVING A 5TH GRADE EDUCATION, LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER, OR HAVING AN MD/PH.D LIKE MY COUSINS, WRITE SO CLEARLY AND EASILY AND SO VERY WELL. I GUESS WE LEARNED IT FROM THE START–FROM THE NUNS!!???–IT IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT SKILL. MORE LIKE A GIFT.

      SOUNDING LIKE AN OLD GROUCH, THESE DAMN KIDS TODAY CANNOT, IN GENERAL, DO SO. i AM ASHAMED OF MY SON, WITH THE ABBREVIATIONS, MISSPELLINGS, GRAMMAR MISTAKES, ETC. I THINK IT IS THE FAULT OF TEXTING AND ABBREVIATING AND SMILEY FACES THAT ARE MEANT TO EXPRESS EMOTIONS INSTEAD OF WORKING IT OUT AND EXPRESSING OUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. THAT’S WORSE EVEN THAN THE BAD GRAMMAR–NOT BEING ABLE TO PUT THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, STORIES DOWN ON PAPER. TOO MUCH WORK. AND NO IMAGINATION BECAUSE THE MEDIA /TECHNOLY DOES IT FOR THEM….NOT TO DOWNPLACE ITS IMPORTANCE, USE, EASINESSFOR THE TEACHER, BUT…DIKKAT.

      • Tee-Hee – there’s a lot of this around 🙂

        David Crystal has been talking about this a lot of late (even noted it in his keynote in İstanbul a while back) – check out this video:

        Maybe more parents (teachers, too) should see it 😉

        T..

      • J,

        You might like this one, too 😉

        T..

  3. Sorry guys! This is a bit long:(I just couldn’t stop writing) 🙂

    What should we “keep” that we already have or do?

    The Qualities of an Effective Teacher:

    Linguistic Competence

    The knowledge of the language taught.

    Implicit Competence

    Teaching practices based on intitution and past learning experiences. Caution! Our past experiences should not obstruct the way we perceive the 21st century. Therefore, they should gradually be substituted with the next two competencies i.e. Theoretical and Applied Competencies.

    Theoretical Competence

    Acquired through university education, professional development courses and the reading of specialized journals and books.

    Applied Competence ( Execution)

    The ability to turn the theory acquired into principal classroom practice.

    Professional Competence

    The reflection and recognition of the role that one’s teaching plays in society. ( Almeido Filho, 1993, 1999, 2006)

    Inter/Intrapersonal Competence

    The ability of teachers to foster positive and constructive bonds with students, parents, fellow teachers and supervisors. The ability of teachers to reflect on what they have done, how they have done it and its consequences regarding teaching/learning.

    Personal Qualities

    We can come across with a long list of personal qualities at different resources or when we ask the teachers: patience, organisation skills, fairness, flexibility, punctuality, emphaty etc. Here, the sky is the limit and the list gets longer as days go by because teaching and learning are so ‘ dynamic’, ‘humane’ and ‘ non-linear’ processes.

    Pedagogical Competence / Skills ( Douglas Brown, 2001)

    Effective teachers master pedagogical knowledge used to convey and reveal subject matter to students. They are aware of the preconceptions and background knowledge that students typically bring to each subject and of strategies and instructional materials that can be of assistance. In addition, they understand and solve the possible difficulties likely to arise in the classroom and modify their practice accordingly.

    What do we need that we don’t already have or do?

    What exactly are the literacies and fluencies that we teachers and educators need to prioritise? Are they the same as those our learners need to develop? Are there any that specifically apply to the way we “do” business across education – as teachers?

    Learner-Centered Teaching

    What changes when teaching is learner-centered? ( M. Weimer, 2002)

    The Balance of Power

    When teaching is learner-centered, power is shared rather than transferred wholesale. Administartors/ Teachers still make decisions about learning but they no longer make ALL decisions and NOT ALWAYS without student input. Power sharing benefits students and learning. It also benefits teachers and the learning environment in a classroom and at an institution.

    The Function of Content

    When the goal is learning I always question the relationship between the words ‘cover’ and ‘content’ . Assuming that ‘ more is better’ we somehow ‘cover’ the content and do not think its function, to put it more clearly, the process of learning. Does covering the content really mean students have learned something? In learner-centered teaching content functions as a means as well as an end of instruction.

    The Role of the Teacher: Co-Learner and Lifelong Learning

    Having been at the center so long, we are finding it difficult to leave that spot, even briefly. However, in learner-centred teaching collaborative, cooperative learning and inquiry based approaches are in action and it’s not a ‘ one-man-show’ anymore.

    NETS-T 2008( http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers/nets-for-teachers-2008.aspx,) takes a decidedly different approach, casting teachers into the role of facilitator, collaborator, and, significantly, “co-learner,” rather than information regurgitator. “Now and in the future, effective teachers of digital-age learners will be challenged to move away from models of teaching and learning as isolated endeavors. As they model work and learning that reflects inventive thinking and creativity, teachers must become comfortable as co-learners with their students and with colleagues around the world.”

    To be able to develop professionally teachers should adopt a model of lifelong learning and exhibit professional leadership through participation in learning communities, evaluation of research into the latest digital tools for education, contributions to the “effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession,” and demonstration of leadership in education technology.

    The Responsibility for Learning

    Here, the focus is on learners. They must accept the responsibility of learning. This involves developing the intellectual maturity, learning skills and awareness required to function as autonomous learners. Teacher’s role during this process is to promote student growth and movement towards autonomy.

    The Purpose and Process of Evaluation

    In learner-centered teaching, teachers still evaluate and grade student work, but evaluation activities that involve students are included in the process. Students learn how to assess their own work and participate in the evaluation of work done by their peers. Self and peer-assessment techniques develop skills that independent, self-regulating learners need.

    To this end, WE ALSO NEED TO:( http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers/nets-for-teachers-2008.aspx)

    Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

    Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

    a. design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.
    b. develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.
    c. customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources.
    d. provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching.

    Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

    Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

    a. demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.
    b. collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
    c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats.
    d. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

    Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

    Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.

    a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.
    b. address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources.
    c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.
    d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools.

  4. Regarding digital at a very basic level. All, mostly, of our students have phones with video. I have been suggesting in my training session lately that students, esp. the younger ones, record little scenes, dialogs, etc at home for homework, They bring them in and they are critiqued by teacher and the class. It also has the added bonus of having the parents see the kids using language, instead of filling in blanks.

  5. Hmmmmmm, Crystal is brilliant. Thanks for the link.

    My two concerns are depth and 2nd language learning.

    Yes,the kids say that they are indeed practicing reading and writing. And practice is the key. The more we read, etc. Stephen Krashen was wonderful on this subject at the Bahcesehir conferred last May, his research, humor insights on the subject of reading.

    OK, but the texting are short, and mostly social. Will reading lots of texts prepare the student for MRS. DALLOWAY or even HARRY POTTER???? Will the writing really help them on an essay, esp. one that requires imagination, or worse, analysis? I really do wonder.

    And, as an American, I am sorry to say that the British have a history, tradition and, dare I say, love of literature that Americans do not. Might that skew what Dr. Crystal is saying?

    And, are abbreviations helping of 2nd language learners–if they are using English? I have seen way too many GONNA’s and WANNA’s, even from teachers.

    Anyway

    C U L8r, UR Mjsty, Vktorya. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • GONNA’s – from teachers 😉 OMG! Hey, I learned that from me American pals – it is wrong 😉 Some things do cross the pond…(in the other direction) 😉

      Be good…

      T..

  6. I do not think technology is overrated at all – and 21st Century teachers need to have technological literacy. We have 21st Century kids walking into 20th century classrooms and this creates a rigid kind of disconnection between the educators and the learners. This does not mean that the teachers should be replaced by computers, of course not. We need both computers & teachers – not either/or thinking.

    Technology makes us more productive efficient, allows teachers to personalize education and track student progress more closely. Just using the bare minimum does not help us meet the needs of our students – especially, today’s students.

    So, personally I prioritize technological literacy of all sorts.

    What do we need that we don’t already have or do?

    Albert Einstein once said – “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. Teachers need training on technological literacy. A teacher may not be able to find his on way to the right kind of technology or tools.

    Secondly, critical thinking skills are important. Just as teachers need to prioritise reflective practice – critical thinking for students is essential to educational excellence and successful decision-making in all forms of professional practices

    What do we have or do now that we don’t want to keep?

    Sadly, we keep doing the same kind of things for years and resist change. Teaching and learning cannot improve in this type of context. We, as teachers, need to reflect on what we do in our professional practice – and do it in a sustained fashion.

  7. As you say, teachers have many “faces” and responsibilities such as facilitating, integrating, coordinating, participating, investigating, leading, shaping “others” and so on.

    They not only have these responsibilities but also they have to find new approaches, new technologies and new discoveries to keep up with the advances in teaching and enhance learning and they are doing this in a world which is fast-paced and rapidly changing. Some are fluent with technological tools, are aware of global concerns, challenge students to find solutions, find their voices and change the world whereas there are others that hold onto their reluctance to use new technologies.

    This is simply rooted in a lack of skill and confidence. They need training on how to use technology in their teaching. They must be persuaded about the value of the new activities and then given time to work on technology to (re)invent effective lessons.

    However, when it comes to teachers learning and valuing the effective use of new technologies, we see that the effectivenes of training given to teachers at some schools does not realise change in the daily practice – or even improve things for the better in terms of a professional development experience. Therefore, approaches to encourage teachers to employ these technologies on a more frequent basis to enhance student learning have to be identified by institutions – and take account of where teachers are coming from and where they need to go. They must be relevant – and more than one-off technology “edutainment”.

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