Teacher Skills for the 21st Century


Teachers in the 21st century face challenges that their predecessors did not. This is an age of easily accessible and easily digestible material because of all of the electronic media available to students. Effective teaching in the 21st century requires more than a basic understanding of educational theory and classroom management. Teachers must also collaborate with other educators to learn how to implement new technology in the classroom, and how to prepare students to enter a global economy.

Classroom Managment

  • Some aspects of teaching will remain constant until the end of time. Classroom management is one of them. For learning to take place, students must feel they are in a safe and secure environment. To create this environment, teachers must have rules and procedures in place. These are most effective if posted in the classroom. Even in the 21st century the focus in schools is still student learning, and as long as this is the case effective, classroom management is essential.

Making Content Relevant

  • Having students engage in the learning experience is necessary to ensure that they will learn the new objectives presented to them. Teaching in the 21st century is difficult because students receive so much stimulation from television, computers and other electronic devices that many find school dull. The challenge for teachers today is to make lessons relevant to students’ everyday lives. Making these connections will ensure that students are engaged in learning and will retain the important objectives covered each day.

Critical Thinking

  • Teachers create the academic framework that students will use throughout their lives. Developing critical thinking skills in the 21st century is crucial. With each passing year the world becomes more complex. Teacher must write lesson plans and use instructional strategies to make students use higher -order reasoning skills. Graduating students who can think critically to solve society’s problems is a must.


  • Technology is constantly evolving with each passing year, and technology in education is no exception. Teachers in the 21st century will need to continue to learn about new developments in technology that can increase student learning or enhance their professional lives. Working with new technologies is also important in relating to students. This is because young people are bombarded with new technology everyday and teachers must work with this fact to create meaningful and effective lessons.


  • Globalization refers to the growing interconnectedness of the world. Technological advances have made it possible for companies to have international operations. Television, the Internet, and other media make cultural exchanges across continents possible in only minutes. Giving students an understanding of globalization will create effective future leaders because they will be capable of seeing things from a world view. Teachers who are skilled in creating lessons that teach students about the importance of globalization are essential to education in the 21st century.


  • So far the focus of education in the 21st century has been on standardized tests and teacher accountability. Teachers must now focus on state standards or it will reflect in their students’ scores. This shift has caused an increase in collaboration in education. Educators must now work in teams to ensure that all students are receiving an equal education regardless of what teacher they have.

Professional Development

  • Teachers can never stop learning. The education profession is constantly evolving and will continue to do so throughout the 21st century. Improvements in instructional strategies and technology are always happening. Being an effective teacher involves staying current on new issues and developments in the field. Professional development in the 21st century will involve staying abreast of new research and also attending seminars and trainings on new developments in the profession.


  • Photo Credit computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from Fotolia.com
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