Sunday, March 18, 2012

21st Century Teacher Attributes

I'm wondering what your vision is for a 21st century teacher.  Here's the vision that leads me.

Life Long Learner: Employs a regular schedule of learning and embeds that learning in the work he/she does.

Knowledge Expert: The teacher takes the time to research and learn about the knowledge units within his/her charge.  He/she is an expert of the knowledge related to the units in his/her charge.

Nurturer: The school is a "home away from home" and the teacher nurtures and cares for the children in his/her charge.

Tech Savvy: Learns about and utilizes tech tools regularly to inform, deliver, and assess instruction.

Project Base Learning Facilitator: Integrates standards, skill, concept, and knowledge regularly in projects that engage, motivate and respond to student needs, passions and interests.

RTI/Differentiation: Looks at every learner as an individual and responds to that individual with apt programs, lessons, materials, and tools.

Process Oriented: Recognizes that education is an evolving practice, and regularly takes time to reflect, review and revise the work he/she does for best effect.

Environmental Designer: Is aware that the environment affects the learner, and takes the time to design an environment conducive to optimal education.

Coach, Mentor and Guide: Recognizes that in this age of information excess, the priority should be on learning how to learn rather than the acquisition of discrete sets of knowledge, hence the teacher serves as a coach, mentor, and guide in this endeavor.  With that in mind, however, the teacher also recognizes that some discrete sets of knowledge are necessary and coaches students using the best, research-based materials to attain that knowledge, skill, and concept.

A Student of Cognition: The teacher is a brain coach who embeds the latest research in cognition to develop learning modules that mirror what we understand to be the best ways to build learning flexibility, content, and strength.

Collaborator: The teacher understands that he/she will never know it all or be the best teacher for all students. With this knowledge, the teacher develops his/her repertoire related to collaboration, teamwork, and shared decision making, instruction.

Communicator: The teacher regularly communicates the important information related to his/her practice, vision, goals, and work in order to enlist the support of the learning team and community. The communication includes conferences, written correspondence via the Internet or paper/pencil, and multimedia composition with portfolios and other communication vehicles.

Manager: The teacher manages his/her environment and learning team with skill.  He/she is attuned to the community's needs as a group and as individuals, and responds as such.

Resource: Again, recognizing that one instructor cannot provide all services and instruction, the teacher acts as a resource agent too.  One who is familiar with outside resources to help students grow with academic, social, physical, emotional and passion strength and interest.

Leader: To be a successful educator today (and for all time) you need to have a broad array of leadership skill so that you are able to lead students forward and work with colleagues and family members as you lead each other in apt service to children.

Are these too many roles for one teacher?  Should these roles be distributed, or is it possible for one teacher to play all of these roles?  Does this differ greatly from the way you carry out your role or evaluate teachers in your system?  What am I missing?  Are there any areas you would delete?  How would you evaluate these roles?  Which is most important and which is least important?  Does the prioritization differ from level to level, age to age, community to community?

As I think about the collaborative meetings I've been a part of during the past year, I realize that greater role definition would increase our ability to collaborate, focus, and achieve our goals.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts related to this post.