As teachers, we study and study to learn the latest educational theories. We know, for instance, that just lecturing our students is not the best way for them to learn in a 21st century education model. They need to move, use digital tools, collaborate and such. The hypocrisy hits me when we go back to school for our “trainings” and they are all simply lectures. How do administrators expect their teachers to teach 21st century skills, when all of the professional development is standard, direct instruction? This becomes aggravating as teachers really strive to improve, but are constantly held back by their administration.
I am not referring to the teaching of basic skills before allowing us to collaborate and explore, that is just good teaching. I am referring to telling us to be innovative and not incorporating any of those ideals into their own trainings.
What all of us need is access to 21st century PD, if we are going to incorporate it into our own classrooms. We need to learn the 21st century skills ourselves, before we can pass them on to our students. Digital tools, digital classes, collaboration, creativity, these are all things that need to be incorporated into professional development if it is going to be effective. Don’t be afraid to search out some of your own and demand 21st century educational training from your own administration. It is time we take control of our own learning and teaching! Good luck this school year!
Shawn Huffman Director of Curriculum and Innovation