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11Aug 2019

Coping with the challenges of the 21st century

Posted by : Noor Hossain
Category : Wisdom High International School Nashik
Date :

The children of the 21stcentury are the children of a new age who have been born in an era of digitalization, artificial intelligence and technology. They are more tech savvy than we are and can handle very complicated gadgets with ease. Their minds are automatically programmed to accept and respond to such devices. We cannot possibly take our children or technology away from each other. If we try doing so, we will be doing a grave injustice to them for we would have deprived them of a right - a right to a new tomorrow which we cannot even conceive of. The Lebanese poet Gibran had rightly said that the souls of children “dwell in the house of tomorrow which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you.

The students of the 21st century is not just knowledgeable and learned but also have easy access to data and information so as teachers we cannot fool them if we are ignorant or not as learned as they are. Teachers today complain of rowdiness and indiscipline in classrooms which arises from the fact that children today cannot be tutored the way they were earlier. We have to be alive to the fact that noise is not always rowdiness and talking is not always disregarding the teacher’s presence. Accept the fact that today academics is not teacher centric nor are student’s teacher phobic. Students consider teachers to be one of them and challenge our knowledge as they would one of their peers’. What is wrong with that? Why do we teachers want to put ourselves on elevated pedestals and be glorified as super-human beings? Is there any need for that? Besides, students who question us are the ones who are keenly listening to us! Let us celebrate that! The first step in becoming a new age teacher is to accept the fact that teaching will no longer be mono-dimensional, singular, and linear.  The dynamics of classroom teaching will vary from class to class, subject to subject, and batch to batch. Let us learn to celebrate the new fundamentals of education wherein we have artificial intelligence, teacher inputs, and student inputs put together to create an atmosphere where learning is paramount not the fictional appearance of it.


The second most important criteria is to change the curriculum of the B.Ed degree that most teachers come equipped with to teach. The curriculum does not keep in mind the requirements of a 21st century teacher who is expected to play multiple roles within and without the classroom. Lesson plan making should be substituted with class conduction plan or teaching plan which should broadly define the teacher’s objective because it cannot and will not ever be constant. The B.Ed degree fails to empower the teacher to have the correct equation in the classroom. Till that happens, we should remember that teaching is only 30% of our work, the rest is preparing students for various activities, programmes, and events conducted to give a holistic education to students. Teachers who feel that activities are a sheer waste of time and gimmicks to advertise schools as products are very wrong because the Model United Nations, the Debates, the Learning programs are very helpful in carving and shaping the Gen-Next students. Students face competition, learn to plan, organize, co-operate, collaborate, innovate, and create through these activities. And so the amount of leaning through such mechanisms is unparalleled. Why should we therefore push ourselves against the tide and moan and grumble against these? Why not accommodate and accept them for what they really are? The need and demands of the 21st Century.

However, the biggest challenge that we face today is the interference of parents and the draconian laws which are all against us teachers. The best way to deal with them is to ignore them. If you have been a kind, loving and conscientious teacher, you have nothing to worry. A learned teacher who is popular with his students and knows how to avoid fruitless confrontations will never face any problem. We should be clever and sensible because we are teachers – architects of a tomorrow. We should not be at loggerheads with our students for any reason. We should not try to force the students to obey us but ensure that they choose to do so. Let us not make everything our prestige issue. Despite everything if we go wrong and err in any way, let us have the humility to accept our failings. It makes life easy for everyone. Let not one silly parent or a pampered student spoil your day and mar your happiness! Don’t waste your energy in such unconstructive showdowns.

In conclusion, I wish to say that to be a new age teacher we have to be well versed with our subject, accomplished in soft skills, savvy with gadgets and technology, smart in appearance and practical in approach. Let us accept that this profession as any other profession with its own constraints and pulls. Let us adapt ourselves to the stimulating opportunity that we have to learn from our students while gently guiding and correcting them. Let us bring about a difference without becoming different from what we have always been…..honest.

Noor Afshan


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Noor Hossain

I am teacher at Wisdom High International School.

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