Traits of a Successful 21st-century Educator

Many of today’s education-geared discussions and articles are largely centered on evaluating what skills are needed for students to prevail, but what teachers? A recent poll begged the question to readers, what skills are needed for an educator to be successful in the 21st-century classroom?

Responses were centered on teachers being a guide to students, and less focused on being at the center of the classroom stage. Another commented, “The effective 21st-century teacher will need to be adept in judging the educative and non-educative use of technologies.”

These five characteristics were among the most commonly noted as effectual traits a 21st-centuary educator should be demonstrating:

Anticipates the future – today’s solid educator is aware of the constantly changing technology trends; is in tune with the direction of the economy and the future projections, as well as the needs and opportunities for children in the coming years. Also, they’re progressive in pushing change, prudent of dollars to prepare the future for where these children will live and work.

Is a lifelong learner – teachers should be aware of the use of technology to enhance their productivity and research – being flexible, willing to accept chance, willing make mistakes and improve upon their skills, as well as being dedicated to constantly increasing their personal skills through learning from industry experts, experiences, colleagues, even their students.  

Fosters peer relationships – teachers should model and command courtesy, communication, respect and cooperation. Students should be taught how to treat one another and how to be a friend to their peers. Interpersonal skills must be focused on in the classroom – bringing awareness to “being a friend” and ultimately fostering openness in their future workplaces and relationships.

Can teach and assess all levels of learners – according to Gerald Morris, adjunct instructor at Spring Arbor University, Davenport University and Baker College, “21st-century educators must be Situational Leaders. They must assess where each and every student they teach is at relative to ‘Learning Ability’ and ‘Commitment to Learning.” Students should have a say in their own learning style, and teachers should require of themselves the same skills that they expect their students to display.

Is able to discern effective vs. non-effective technology – the education systems needs to recognize that technologies help students to learn more – and learn more, faster. Today’s classroom technologies can offer teacher’s efficiency, tools for preparation, assessments, lesson feedback, and much more. An effective educator should be able to distinguish educative and non-educative uses of technologies inside and outside of the classroom.

Other notable traits to be admired in effective educators: teachers who push the envelope, ensure their students aren’t left behind in progress, advocates for change, plans and addresses proper resources, looks for underlying patterns and core issues, and lastly, poses open-ended questions to students without their being one exact answer.

Discussion spotlight: what do you think? Do you agree that foresight, lifelong learning and evaluating new technologies should be actively displayed by today’s teachers? Stop by our Facebook page to share your insights!

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Source: Five characteristics of an effective 21st-century educator by Meris Stansbury. eSchool News, online. September 9, 2011.

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