The Role of Education in the 21st Century

Our world is changing, and in order to prepare our children for this new world we need to change the way we educate them. In the 21st century educators must create a curriculum that will help students connect with the world and understand the issues that our world faces.

Schools in the 21st century will become nerve centers, a place for teachers and students to connect with those around them and their community. Teachers in this new environment will become less instructors and more orchestrators of information, giving children the ability to turn knowledge into wisdom.

In order to educate in the 21st century, teachers and administrators need to cultivate and maintain the student's interest in the material by showing how this knowledge applies in the real world. They must also try to increase their student's curiosity, which will help them become lifelong learners. Next they should be flexible with how they teach and give learners the resources to continue learning outside of school.

There are many skills that children will need in order to be successful in the 21st century. Here are a few of the most important 21st century skills:

  • Ability to collaborate, work in teams
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Oral presentation skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Ability to use technology
  • Willingness to examine civic and global issues
  • Ability to conduct research to learn about issues and concepts
  • Chance to learn about new career opportunities

In the ideal 21st century classroom, kids are actually excited about going to school, and there are little or no discipline problems because everyone is eager to learn. In this type of classroom activities and lessons are related to the community, whether local or global. Students collaborate with people from different schools and different countries to learn about issues that affect us all, as well as how we can solve them today and in the future.

The curriculum in the classroom is designed to incorporate many skills and intelligence levels, and makes use of technology and multimedia. The lessons are not based on textbooks, instead they are project based. Skills and content are learned through their research and projects, and textbooks are provided as one of many possible resources.

A new addition to 21st century curriculum is the study of green education and environmental issues. Kids are taught awareness of their world and real experts such as scientist and politicians are brought in to answer student's questions.

New schools in the 21st century will be bright and spacious, and kids will have room for group projects and individual assignments. Walls will be hung with student work, and there will be places for students to put on performances for their parents and members of the community. Students have full access to technology and, if possible, every student will have a laptop.

Within the school there will be labs and learning centers, as well as studios for art, music, theatre, and so on. Each classroom will be equipped with a television so that all students can watch school productions and other school presentations.

While it may take some time before schools and teachers are equipped to properly educate in the 21st century once they are the results will be dramatic. Children will be engaged and eager to learn. In fact, they will carry on learning at home and over holidays, and they will have the resources they need to keep learning no matter where they are. This ability to foster a love of learning is truly the role of education in the 21st century.


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