Being a master educator today requires reorienting ourselves to the world for which we are preparing our students, and acquiring the skills to prepare them for that future. These are not new skills; I know I’ve been talking about them for a while now, as have others. But until now, these skills have been negotiable, based on abilities and interests. Today they’re no longer optional. We must master them, demonstrating functional proficiency:
Human Potential Expertise
Regardless of the level at which we teach, educators need to know how human learning takes place. It’s no longer enough to know curriculum, and it’s no longer acceptable to only meet students intellectual needs. From preschool through college, we must address their cognitive, affective, physical and social-emotional needs. They have to feel safe and healthy, supported and challenged, and most of all engaged in their learning. Our bottom line is each and every student successfully realizing their full potential. That’s our charge, our mission, and our goal.
Read more about being a human potential professional here.
Beyond traditional concepts, children need to prepare for their role in a global society. Of course, community, state and national citizenship still matter, but today’s students are interacting with peers from around the world. They need contexts for understanding international events, cultural differences and opportunities for meaningful collaboration. Students must observe us modeling global citizenship in the same ways we model civic responsibility, networking virtually with colleagues worldwide, and learning by doing in the process. We have to walk the walk.
Read more about learning and working in the global knowledge economy here.
We have colleagues who still have no problem saying they don’t “get” technology, shrugging off their responsibility to learn to use digital tools available to them in the classroom. This is no longer acceptable. To prepare students for their future, we need to be able to think and create technologically. And it’s not enough to know how to use technology for personal productivity; we need to know how to use it as learners, workers, risk-takers, answer-seekers and problem-solvers. Technology fluency means seamlessly, incidentally using digital tools to get the job done.
Read more about technology fluency in education here.
Of course, being a subject matter expert is critical for student learning. But let’s expand our thinking on relevant content expertise. Academic disciplines? Certainly. But there’s so much more. New Literacies: visual, digital scientific, information, media. New ways to work with professionals in their fields of expertise, contribute to the global body of knowledge, and publish new understandings. Each of these content areas can be mastered by doing…rolling up our sleeves with students…living the lifelong learning ideal. And there’s no time like the present…
Consider the role of new literacies in the knowledge economy workplace here.
Not only are we no longer the sage on the stage, we’re not the guide on the side, either. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as lead learners, too. We are becoming learning agents, connecting students with the experiences, experts and resources that meet their individual needs. And to be an effective learning agent, we need to master these core four skill sets. No options. No excuses. Now.