Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher

The teacher reflects on the changing nature of society and how it influences the way she teaches today.

Many aspects of our lives have been influenced by technological advancements, including how we communicate, collaborate, and learn, as well as how we educate. These advancements necessitate a broadening of our linguistic repertoire. Digital natives, virtual immigrants, and the subject of this post, the 21st-century teacher, are all terms that have been coined recently.

During writing this, my thoughts turn to whether I’ve ever heard phrases like “20th-century teacher” or “19th-century teacher.” Fortunately, some quick Google searches revealed that there are no such combinations. When the twentieth century is replaced with the twenty-first, the results are different: twenty-first-century schools, twenty-first-century education, twenty-first-century teachers, and twenty-first-century skills. Using Amazon books and Twitter hashtags, I was able to come up with the same results. There was nothing for the teacher of the twentieth century, but there was a lot for the twenty-first: #teacher21 and #21stcenturyskills. Additionally, there were numerous books on 21st-century teaching.

The practice of teaching in the twenty-first century is a completely new phenomenon. Learning takes place everywhere, at any time, on any topic, and with support for any learning style or preference, and it is never-ending. What exactly does it mean to be a teacher in the twenty-first century?


Student access to all information and personalized instruction are key components of a learner-centered classroom. Because students have unlimited access to all information, there is no need for teachers to attempt to teach them everything. Individualized instruction is possible because students have a variety of objectives and personalities. The ability to make decisions for oneself will lead to higher levels of learning and motivation in students as well as improved learning outcomes.

2. Students are creators: While students today have access to the most cutting-edge technology, their use is often limited to texting, chatting, and making phone calls to their friends and family to keep in touch. Even though students are considered digital natives, they are still far from being able to create any digital content of their own. A large number of students, despite having access to high-end devices that can create infographics, blogs, and books as well as tutorials as well as how-to videos and videos, are required to use handouts and worksheets in class.

After they have been graded, these papers are frequently thrown away by the students. Many students do not want to complete these papers, let alone have the option of keeping or returning them later on. if given the opportunity, students can create beautiful and imaginative blogs, movies, and digital stories. They will be pleased to show off their accomplishments to others.

3. Taking advantage of new technologies is an excellent way to assist students. Because technology is constantly evolving, it is not possible to learn a new tool in a single sitting. I think it’s important to remember that both novice and experienced teachers can pick up new technologies at any time. I have taken advantage of a short-term subscription at, which offers a wealth of resources for learning new technologies.

4. Take a global perspective: Thanks to today’s technology, you can learn more about other countries and their people. However, while textbooks still have their place, learning languages and cultures from people in other countries is a more effective method of learning.

It is a shame that the media continues to provide us with so much information about other cultures, people, and events. Educating students to use the tools at their disposal to visit —at least virtually—any part of the world will help them become more knowledgeable and compassionate.

5. Use smartphones wisely: When students are taught how to see their phones, they are more likely to use them as learning tools rather than distractions. During my first few years as a teacher, I strictly prohibited students from using their cell phones in class. In class, I used them to provide answers to questions and to explain new vocabulary words. This was something I wouldn’t do today, for obvious reasons.

It has been my experience that different students have varying requirements in terms of vocabulary and questions. I realized that it was not necessary to spend time explaining something that only a small number of students would find useful. When students are taught to be self-sufficient and to seek out their answers, the classroom environment is transformed.

I’ve noticed positive changes in my student’s behavior since I began to view their devices as helpful aids. Sometimes I respond with “I don’t know” and then tell them what I think they should do. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes in their reactions!

I wrote about the importance of teacher and student blogging in a previous blog post. Even those who were just learning the English language realized how important it was to write for a real audience and establish a digital presence. If you want to blog, it shouldn’t be a question of whether you want to blog or not.

7. Implement a digital strategy: Another important attribute is to eliminate the use of paper. Organizing teaching resources and activities on one’s website and incorporating technology can elevate students’ learning experiences to a higher level. Shared links and the ability to interact electronically allow students to gain access to class resources and participate in digital discussions, eliminating the need for students to keep track of paper.

8. Collaboration: Technology makes it possible for students and teachers to work together more effectively. Digital resources, presentations, projects, and other activities can be developed collaboratively by educators and students to make learning more realistic and relevant to real-world situations and situations. Collaborating on documents via email or creating PowerPoint presentations should not be the only means of achieving results. It’s a shame that so many brilliant ideas never make it past the stage of a paper copy or a conversation. Global collaboration has the potential to transform our lives.

9. Twitter chats: Twitter chats are the most cost-effective and efficient method of organizing one’s professional development. It enables you to share your research and ideas with others while also keeping you up to date on the most recent developments in the field of study. Throughout the day, there are numerous excellent conversations taking place. We can learn and grow in our professional lives. Attending conferences isn’t the only way to make new connections and meet new people; networking events are also beneficial.

10. Connect: Establish relationships with people who share your interests. Connecting with anyone, anywhere, and at any time is made possible by today’s technology. Do you have a question or comment you’d like to direct to a colleague or subject matter expert? Make contact through social media. Follow, join, ask, or tell others about it.

11. Project-based learning is becoming more and more popular than it has ever been before. Students have immediate access to experts from all over the world, as well as peers who are studying the same subject in different parts of the world. The use of textbooks in the classroom is very twentieth-century. Developing their driving questions and conducting research should be a part of every student’s education today. They can also consult with experts and create final projects, which they can then share with others through the use of the devices that are already at their disposal. All they require is some direction from their teacher.

12. Your positive digital footprint is important: Although it may sound obvious, teachers today need to show how to use social media professionally, how to publish and produce valuable content, and how you can share resources. Teachers are human beings who want to express themselves through words and images on social media platforms. It is, however, impossible to expect students to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior on the internet. It is critical to maintaining a professional demeanor both in and out of the classroom and on the internet. This will contribute to the creation of a positive digital footprint and the demonstration of appropriate behavior for students.

13. Coding: Although it may appear complicated, code is simply the modern equivalent of literacy. Today’s teachers must be able to use today’s pencils and pens, just as they were able to use pencils and pens during the twentieth century. Learning programming is a fascinating experience. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to create HTML pages. Even though I still have a lot to learn, it is possible to take things one step at a time. can be a great place to start learning new skills.

14. Be innovative: I encourage you to experiment with different teaching methods and to broaden your range of teaching resources. Students are not only interested in the tools themselves, but also in the advantages of using them.

Since I started using TED talks and creating my activities based on those videos, I’ve received a wide range of responses from my students, which I find fascinating. It’s a real pleasure! They enjoy communicating with their classmates and participating in class discussions through Facebook. They enjoy novelty, not so much in the form of new tools as in the more productive and interesting ways in which they can be used.

15. Continue to learn: Because new tools and technology are constantly being introduced, it is essential to continue to learn. It’s simple to have fun, and only 20 minutes per day can get you a long way in terms of progress.