The Changing Role of the Teacher in the 21st CenturyBy Dr. Brad Johnson and Tammy Maxson McElroy
It is clear that the teacher’s role must be redefined to meet the needs and demands of today’s culture. The present method of school and teacher improvement is much like trying to create a new and improved 8-track tape player. It sounds great in theory, in but in reality, although it might have new bells and whistle; it is still just an 8-track player.
So, this does not mean more emphasis on preparing the teacher for the classroom of 1965, which is the standard protocol, but rather to help teachers develop the skills needed to thrive and students flourish in today’s culture.
The role of the teacher has traditionally been the gatekeeper of information. She had access to the information that her students needed. This was an important role 30 years ago when the classroom was the focal point of information dissemination. There wasn’t internet access, 24 hour cable news, or cell phones to access exorbitant amounts of information instantly. Information was a sparse commodity, and it was the teacher who held the keys to the knowledge kingdom. We are not downplaying the importance of memorizing certain information or establishing a strong foundation on which to build. For instance, students need to memorize multiplication tables, so they can do advanced math with more ease, and we wouldn’t want a heart surgeon to be “googling” a heart procedure during surgery.
There is foundational information needed to build on future learning. However, if that information is never given relevance to the real world or made applicable to other learning, then how effective is the information?
However, today it is not a lack of information that exists for students. In fact, did you know that students are exposed to more information by the age of five than their grandparents were by the age of twenty? This means that children entering kindergarten