Advice Column, Child, Education, Parenting, Tween & Teen

21st Century Teaching – A Gateway to Curiosity

Lifting students learning in a school is a collaborative effort. It requires team effort, both at school and at home. It has become evident that with the current economic demands, parents find themselves overcommitted, not by choice, but the need to provide for their families. Hence, social growth is neglected and thus the school environment becomes the essential feeder of the curious minds. 

The curious mind requires nurturing so that ultimately it yields the desired results. A school then becomes a key source of information both academically and socially. Therefore, it imperative that a school adopt strategies that cultivate curiosity in all aspects and to achieve this, there has to be constructive learning.

Today’s schools must equip today’s child with the right skills and knowledge that will enable the child to thrive and survive in today’s global markets. Often parents think that their children are vulnerable and fragile. The 21st century child is fearless, and always eager to embrace change. This generation often perceives a challenge as an opportunity.

How do we ensure curiosity driven learning at school?

The 21st century child wants tangibility because that is how they make inference with the outside world.

With the right skills, the 21st century mind becomes the inquirer, the thinker, the communicator, and the reflective person. All these skills are achievable only when curiosity is harnessed right. Change may start at school level; from management down to the teachers. This may include the appearance if the school, the classrooms and the teachers themselves. The minute the students notice change, this creates a gateway for curiosity. They soon realise that change is inevitable and this conditions to anticipate more.

From the teacher’s perspective, creating new spaces of learning in the classroom triggers curiosity. Children need to be challenged and their minds fed with knowledge. One may be old fashioned, but I still believe that a classroom should ooze information. For example, walls with posters that are constantly changed to suit the new themes covered and also topical issues of interest must be made available. a child’s eye always wonders, and where those pair of eyes set, must come across something knew, that will make them wonder and this opens up a gateway to curiosity.

Beginning a lesson with a challenging question that allows the students to engage. This develops their critical thinking skills in the classroom. To ensure that these skills are taught, a teacher must be willing to evolve with the times. Be eager to use technology in the classroom. Most importantly, teachers still need to control what happens in the classroom and not let technology replace them. A chid still needs to be taught, and not self-teach themselves.

At times students will come forward with the most bizarre theories and that will mark the beginning of a conversation or even challenge you to do more research about the topic of conversation. 

This must not deter you as a teacher and most certainly it does not mean you know less. 

It challenges one to read more and want to meet the demands of this new generation. Incorporating the use of gadgets in teaching, allows room for creativity and curiosity. 21st Century teachersneed to be brave and embrace the change that comes with it. 

However, it will not replace you as a teacher in the classroom, a teacher must use technology as a teaching aid, to address directly and indirectly those questions that you might not have answers for. Remember a curious mind requires constructive learning and when harnessed right it will produce a global citizen. 

By Siphilangenkosi Bhembe, Teacher at Pinnacle College Rynfield 

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