Rethinking the Role of Teacher: 3 Practices to Elevate Student Engagement

Trendy teenagers sitting together, engaged with technology

I’d be very surprised to find a teacher that has fallen asleep at night thinking, “In what ways can I bore my students tomorrow?” However, school is changing — and with it, so are the roles of teachers and students.

Rows of individual student desks with a teacher in the front of the room are becoming a thing of the past. Collaborative and flexible workspaces with multiple teachers and support educators are the new norm.

The way we consume information has also changed, and teachers are no longer the sole sources of information with a duty to impart knowledge to our students. Students are consuming media and information every day — from the time they wake up until the time they fall asleep. They ask Google a question to be met with an instant response.

How might we adapt our roles as educators to facilitate learning and thinking in an impactful, purposeful way in this new learning environment?

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5 Ways to Spur Student Growth and Opportunity Through Hands-On STEM

5 ways to spur student growth and opportunity through hands-on STEM

It may seem far down the line when we talk about career prospects for elementary school students — or even for middle schoolers — but many students decide on careers in STEM long before they graduate high school. Plus, STEM skills and digital literacy have a proven demand in a job market that is increasingly technology and data-driven, thus making these skills critical competencies students should be learning in school.

Research shows a startling gap between what business leaders expect of graduates and the reality in the classroom: by 2021, 67 percent of U.S. executives expect to choose job candidates with data skills over those without, but only 23 percent of educators believe their students will graduate with these essential technology and analytical skills.

Educators need tangible resources to build the skills students need to succeed in the current and future workforce. Active-learning activities provide students with practical, hands-on education and engagement key to building their STEM competencies. Whether these activities are done in the classroom or as an after-school program, students lead the learning and gain opportunities to hone their teamwork, delegation, problem-solving, and communication skills.

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Literacy in the Digital Age: Nine Great Speaking and Listening Tools

Literacy in the Digital Age

Editor’s Note: Teaching Channel has partnered with Student Achievement Partners on a blog series about digital literacy tools and their effective use by educators.

The majority of the tools mentioned in this post and the four earlier posts in our series, transform the student experience from passive consumers of information to active creators of content, employing multiple English Language Arts standards and skills along the way.

We firmly believe this ought to be the new norm in the modern classroom. Kids have access to information; we must teach them how to navigate a world constantly evolving where content is at their fingertips. The traditional application of ELA isn’t enough for future-ready learners. We would argue our students read and write more now than they ever have before — between texting, social media, gaming, and everything else they do in their digitally fueled, online lives. Our vision must evolve to incorporate a new approach to literacy instruction, one in which technology becomes an accelerator to personalize and create meaningful learning contexts.

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Literacy in the Digital Age – Five Tools That Demystify Text Complexity

Literacy in the Digital Age

Editor’s Note: Teaching Channel has partnered with Student Achievement Partners on a blog series about digital literacy tools and their effective use by educators.

The Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of students being exposed to and understanding texts of increasing complexity as they progress through grade levels. Often, though, it’s difficult to find an accurate way to measure texts.

Lexile and readability scores use features like sentence length and word frequency that are not always accurate measures. For example, the classic novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is considered to be at a lexile level for a 3rd grader. As educators, we know to use our better judgement because the themes and topics are nowhere near appropriate for that grade level.

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