Teaching and learning in the 21st Century
Teaching and learning in the 21st Century

Teaching and learning in the 21st Century

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  • Pages: 6 (2747 words)
  • Published: November 24, 2021
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Learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills through education, experience or study of a particular discipline. Education stakeholders tend to agree that students need 21st-century skills to tackle different problems in the society. However, the concept of learning and education is not new and unique to the 21st century since it has existed through the different ages of human history from the development of early tools to the inventions in space and sea exploration. This paper examines a case study and draws the similarities and differences between traditional teaching and learning with the new ones in the 21st century.

Analysis of the Scenario

The scenario presents a case of a primary school; Brown Coal, which was closed for the past ten years due to the effects of fire from an open cut coal mine. The fire has been contained recently and children are returning to the school. The children, however, need to learn the effects of the fire on the health and well-being of the community. The principal of the school, therefore, feels that it is important for the teachers to work through the emotional feeling

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of the children by undertaking a science project examining the effects of the fire in Victoria.

The focus of the scenario is on grade two teachers and children. The teachers Mr. Benjamin and Ms. Newcombe have proposed ways through which the children can learn better about the fire. Most of the proposed methods are traditional teaching techniques which are not student-centered and considers the students as knowledge recipients (Bird & Edirisingha, 2011). For instance, Mr. Benjamin has proposed that a firefighter should come and talk to the children about the fire. This is a lecture style of teaching which is considered one of the traditional teaching methods (Jordan, Carlile, & Stack, 2008). The lecturing approach does not fully enhance learning. The views of the learners are also not taken into consideration hence not achieving the overall goal of learning (Jordan, Carlile, & Stack, 2008). The students might find the lecture boring hence drifting away from it. Jim the firefighter might not elaborately express his ideas since according to Swann (2011), for the case of a lecture the children may not raise questions for clarifications.

After the lecture by Jim on ways they used to put out the fire, Mr. Benjamin has proposed that the children should write a story about the fire. In this case, Mr. Benjamin is acting as the controller of the classroom and the students are not given a chance to decide whatever they want to achieve from the lecture (Mincu, 2012). This learning approach displays a situation where power and responsibility are held by the teacher. The teacher is, therefore, the instructor and the decision maker in all learning processes (Saavedra & Opfer, 2012). This is a traditional learning approach evident in the case study and the grade two children may not benefit so much

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from the story writing. Further grade two children may not be in a position to first listen to a lecture then extract a story from it.

According to the principal of Brown Coal, the teachers should carry out some science project to understand the emotions of the students concerning the fire. This is a traditional view of teaching and learning according to Garci?a & Baetens Beardsmore (2009), which considers the teacher as the one causing learning to occur. The science project is teacher-centered and the children may not be fully involved in understanding the effects of the fire on Victoria town.

From the scenario, Ms. Newcombe, one of the grades two teachers, is looking for different approaches to supporting the children in learning the effects of the fire and promoting their well-being in the process. These approaches may not be modern approaches to teaching and learning and might also not suit the students. Introducing a blackboard and using verbal expressions to explain the effects of the fire to the children may be such approaches (Jordan, Carlile, & Stack, 2008). This approach is also a traditional teaching and learning technique since it considers the children as having knowledge gaps and they take the information given to them without questioning (Mincu, 2012). The teachers in the case study have used fairly old techniques in examining and explaining the effects of the coal fire to Victoria and Brown Coal School. The children may therefore not fully understand the effects of the coal fire leading to the closure of their school ten years ago.

New practices in teaching and learning for the 21st-century classroom

The approaches used in the scenario to teach the children the effects of the fire are evidently traditional. New learning approaches have been developed over time to enhance the learning experience for the students. These new teaching practices utilize both internal and external classroom partnerships, by adequately using modern technologies in the learning process (Dror, 2011). The techniques according to Saavedra & Opfer (2012) are student-centered and the views of the students are taken into consideration.

Demonstration or taking the role of a coach is one new strategy which is increasingly used by teachers to enhance learning. In this case, the teachers retain their formal authority role (Hallam & Creech, 2010). They, however, demonstrate their expertise by showing the students what they need to know. This teaching practice gives teachers a room to incorporate different learning formats such as using multimedia, lectures, and demonstrations. Through such incorporations, the students have access to different approaches in their process of gaining and retaining the knowledge obtained in class (Mincu, 2012). The technique should, however, be used sparingly since it may not accommodate each student’s learning needs. The method is suitable for teaching music, mathematics, arts and craft and physical education (Hallam & Creech, 2010).

Facilitation and activity are other modern teaching practices which greatly enhance learning. This method aims to promote self-learning by helping students develop critical thinking skills and retaining knowledge leading to self-actualization (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011). In this case, the teacher is not viewed as a custodian of knowledge. The learning experience is a

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