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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

21 Reasons to Stop Saying "21st Century Teacher"

This afternoon I saw a blog post titled 27 Ways To Be A 21st Century Teacher. 22 of the 27 items in that list could have been 50 years ago. And 24 of the 27 items are things that I did as a sixth grade student in 1990 (yes, I coded thanks to Logo Writer). Because of this I Tweeted the following in response to seeing the list;

A couple of people asked me about this Tweet so please allow me to elaborate on why I'm tired of people saying "21st Century Teacher" as if it means something.

1. We live in the 21st Century. If you're teaching today, you're a 21st Century teacher.
2. We live in the 21st Century. Even if you're using older methods (some of which have a lot of validity) you're still a 21st Century teacher unless you're going 88.8 miles per hour in a DeLorean to get to work every morning.
3. Unless you plan on teaching for another 87 years, you're not going to be a 22nd Century teacher so don't try to be all curve-jumping. Again, exceptions made for people commuting in a DeLorean at 88.8mph.
4. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
5. "Teacher 2.0" is just as silly as 21st Century Teacher. I hope that there are more than two iterations of your teaching methods. Even my best lessons have had half a dozen or more versions, sometimes in the same day.
6. No one worth impressing is impressed by "21st Century teacher."
7. A century is a long time.
8. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
9. We live in the 21st Century. Even if you're using older methods (some of which have a lot of validity) you're still a 21st Century teacher unless you're going 88.8 miles per hour in a DeLorean to get to work every morning.
10. Unless you plan on teaching for another 87 years, you're not going to be a 22nd Century teacher so don't try to be all curve-jumping. Again, exceptions made for people commuting in a DeLorean at 88.8mph.
11. Good teachers have always consulted with other teachers. Twitter didn't invent professional learning networks, personal learning networks, or professional learning groups.
12. Good teachers have always been life-long learners looking to bring new information into their classrooms. Google didn't invent that.
13. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
14. No one worth impressing is impressed by "21st Century teacher."
15. A century is a long time. Do you plan to put "21st Century teaching methods" on your resume 15 years from now? That's like putting "proficient in MS Word and PowerPoint" on your resume today.
16. Even if you use every modern technology available to you in your classroom and call yourself a "21st Century teacher" it doesn't mean your students are benefitting from it.
17. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1 and 2 above.
18. Writing or saying "21st Century Teacher" is meaningful if you're trying to help someone win at Buzzword Bingo.
19. Unless you plan on teaching for another 87 years, you're not going to be a 22nd Century teacher so don't try to be all curve-jumping. Again, exceptions made for people commuting in a DeLorean at 88.8mph.
20. "Teacher 2.0" is just as silly as 21st Century Teacher. I hope that there are more than two iterations of your teaching methods. Even my best lessons have had half a dozen or more versions, sometimes in the same day.
21. "21st Century Teacher" is redundant. See items 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 13, and 17.

Before you jump in with your angry comment, remember this is mostly tongue-in-cheek. I do want people to use technology and effective modern methods in their instruction. But I do hope that we slow down and think about the meaning of the buzzwords we hear before repeating them.

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