Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘Educational Literacies’

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 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.

Imagineering the 21st Century Teacher…the SEQUEL!

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities, Technology on 19/09/2011 at 8:59 am

It’s funny…as soon as we mention phrases like the 21st Century Teacher, people immediately assume we are about to launch into a diatribe about the wonders of allthingstechnology!

Yes, it’s truetechnology is everywhere, it is getting easier to use and it can help us learn more – faster than ever before. However, and as we all know… learning (and teaching) is not about the hardware, the software, or the webware…it’s the “headware”, dummy!

It’s also the “heartware” – and how much we focus on “what matters”!


I think this is perhaps why I tend to put so much emphasis on how literate a teacher is with LEARNing – but also how much of that “learnacy” is related to what are known as 21st Century Fluencies:

Many of these ideas were developed to discuss the type of learning we educators need to be co-creating with our primary and secondary learners – but surely we also need to be able to role model these, if that learning is to occur.

The guys at the 21st Century Fluency Project remind us that the students our schools need to be “producing” should:

  • think creatively to solve problems in real time
  • unconsciously and intuitively interpret information in all forms and formats
  • work cooperatively with virtual and real partners
  • use design, art and storytelling to come up with creative solutions
  • look analytically (and critically) at any communication media to interpret (and evaluate) the real message and create and publish original (and effective) digital messages and products

This last one clearly shows the importance of Critical Literacy – for both teachers and students. Indeed, a man far smarter than I asked:

Is it enough to help children and adults to achieve literacy if this simply means they read only sufficiently well to be seduced by advertisers and tabloid newspapers? (Brian Cox, 1998)

What is interesting, however, is when we take a closer look at the elements that make up Critical Literacy – and notice the degree of overlap with the 21st Century Fluencies:

Whoever said that teaching was “easy” needs a kick up the rear!


Obviously, the above ideas are closely linked under the umbrella of “digital citizenship” – but as we noted technology does not an effective learner or teacher make…it can help if used wisely!

What is important is that today’s teachers talk the same language as their learnersLEARNing as a First Language (LFL) – in addition to applying Critical Literacy to all they do.


However, Educational Literacy does not stop there:

A little earlier I mentioned “heartware” – the emotional side of Educational Literacy.

We all know, from experience, that:

Adults neither!


But…if most of us were asked (during an interview for a new teaching post) – “How Emotionally Literate are you”? – we’d probably get all flummoxed!

Emotional Literacy is at the heart of what we do in education – and “great” (or even “effective”) teachers know the power of:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management 


  • Empathy

Effective teachers know that they are leaders and that:

  • When we feel “good”, we perform better – at everything we do!
  • Everyone watches the “boss”!
  • Leaders set the “standards” of any group!

More importantly, they know that:

  • All communication, all relationships and all learning works, and has always worked, through emotions!

OK…where were we?

  • Critical Literacy – CHECK!
  • Learning Literacy – CHECK!
  • Emotional Literacy – CHECK!

Tonyhave you not missed a few? In fact, should you not have “started” with the THREE you have missed out?

…I feel a PREQUEL coming on!