Questions regarding 21st century teaching

Over the Christmas break I’ve had the opportunity to read a few blogs with teaching tips and information regarding teaching 21st century students. In general, I love the idea of teaching students how to learn rather than lecturing them on what to remember. That whole “teach a man to fish idea”.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just saying “Kids, I want you to learn to learn”. There are several questions I have about how to accomplish 21st century teaching:

  • Does my role become a glorified babysitter?Kind of a silly question, but it does concern me that my role may move to just keeping students on task while they learn everything from a website. I’m teaching because I have knowledge that I want to pass on, not because I just need a paycheck.
  • How do I effectively measure a student’s progress?I find it very difficult grading work on an “effort” or “creativity” basis. It’s too subjective and I’d hate to give a student a low grade on something they worked very hard on. I know I should be monitoring their progress throughout the projects, but I find it difficult remembering the effort level for 100 students. What’s the best way to manage this?
  • How do I successfully convince the higher ups to let me use blogs and social media sites when I’m not even certain myself it will work?
  • How do I appropriately filter content teenagers try to get away with adding?
  • How do I write lesson plans that are actually geared towards 21st century and not just Thinly veiled 20th century techniques?
  • How can I teach 21st century style for a subject I’m not very familiar with? How do I know the students are learning the right information?
  • How do I provide a structured environment for the students who need it? Some students need and desire the structured step-by-step environment when it comes to learning and would get disoriented/distracted if I threw them to the mercy of the internet. How do I provide the structure for these types of students so that they can also succeed?

I’m definitely hoping to adapt my teaching style as I go and I’m thinking about ways I can really engage the students so hopefully some of these questions can be answered.