Classrooms are productive environments where students develop the skills they need in today's ever changing world and teachers are facilitators of their learning. The focus at Hall-Woodward is developing students higher order thinking skills, effective communication skills, and collaboration skills making them adept with technology and skills that they will need in the 21st century workplace.
Teachers develop new teaching strategies that are different from those employed in the traditional classrooms. Teachers ensure that they engage their students in learning and provide effective instruction using a variety of instructional methods and following different pedagogical approaches.
. The top 10 characteristics of a 21st century classroom are:
Student-centric: In these classrooms, students play an active role in their learning and teachers serve as mere guides. They are more facilitators of learning than lecturers. They help students think critically and learn by doing and act as a resource while their students discover and master new concepts. Student-centric classroom environments put students’ interests first and are focused on each student’s needs, abilities and learning styles.
Computing devices: Computers are readily available in modern classrooms, since they are essential tools for 21st century students and replace the utilities of pen and paper. They not only give students the means to conduct online research and master the technology skills they need, but they also give teachers the opportunity to enhance their lessons. The ability to deftly operate a computer is a critical 21st century skill. Computing devices greatly assist in teaching and learning and make them more engaging and effective.
Active learning: In modern classrooms, students are actively engaged in what they learn. Students participate in more active learning by working in groups or on computers and complete projects and other interesting activities that help them discover new skills. Students can learn actively by talking and listening, writing, reading and reflecting. When students are encouraged to take an active interest in learning, they are more likely to retain the knowledge they’ve accumulated.
Adaptive learning: Any classroom will always have students of different types of learning abilities in it which often makes it difficult for teachers to make sure that all of them understand the concepts. The modern approach of adaptive learning gives students the freedom to learn at their own pace and in the way they are most comfortable with. There are various kinds of software available for adaptive learning that teachers can use to enhance the learning of their students.
Invitational environment: The classrooms should not be cramped or overcrowded. Modern classrooms should have the basic material required for teaching such as, interactive whiteboards and LCD projectors. The BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) approach may be adopted, so that students can bring their laptops or tablets to the classroom for better personalized learning. Teaching with technological material is more effective, stimulates student engagement, eases the work of teachers and makes it easy for students to focus on learning.
Students understand and follow the rules and procedures: The learning environment is carefully planned and well-organized. Class rules, procedures, and notices of upcoming activities are posted in convenient places to help students stay on track. Students are constantly encouraged to remind them of their goals and responsibilities. They follow class routines and understand what they are expected to achieve each day and how they are to go about it.
Mutual respect: Teachers and students should always have respect for each other. As now the role of teachers is no longer to be the sage on the stage, students should not forget their value as they will always receive guidance from them. Also, teachers should encourage students to speak with confidence and value their opinions. In a well-disciplined environment, students should also co-operate with and respect their classmates.
Students take responsibility of their learning: As students are encouraged to actively participate in their own learning, they become responsible for their learning. Self-directed students not only encourage each other, but also work with their teacher to achieve academic and behavioral goals that they themselves have helped establish. Teachers should employ a variety of strategies to promote responsible decision-making and create self-reliant students.
Performance-based assessments: Regular performance-based assessments are carried out by teachers through various methods which are not restricted to tests. These can be by conducting quizzes and polls. Teachers can utilize projects as well as other products and performances as assessments to determine student achievements and needs. Assessments are tailored to the abilities and needs of the students.
Collaborative learning: Learning through collaboration is one of the most effective forms of learning. Teaching and learning in isolation are very restrictive and hinder progress. Learning in groups enhances the scope of learning and develops critical thinking. Collaborative learning activities include collaborative writing, group projects, joint problem solving, debates and more. Collaborative learning redefines traditional student-teacher relationship in the classroom.