Drew Schrader, former teacher and technology consultant, describes traditional education as "the expectation that students will learn because we tell them to." He believes the field of education needs to make big changes because "learning out of compliance has always yielded superficial understanding for the majority of people and limited the highest levels of achievement to those individuals who were able to find personal meaning and intrinsic motivations despite the system in which they were learning."
Teaching in the 21st Century
Schrader is not the only educator concerned about the success of students in the 21st century as the world develops at an ever-increasing pace. Former Executive Director of the George Lucas Education Foundation Milton Chen says, "It's no longer enough to 'know things.' It's even more important to stay curious about finding out things."
In addition to the speed of innovation, international political and social conditions as well as the availability of worldwide travel have introduced unprecedented diversity in language, culture and tradition to classrooms across the country.
Because of these conditions, demand has grown for an entirely new approach to education and cutting-edge teaching skills and strategies.
Teaching How to Learn
Experienced teachers recognize the speed at which information has become available in the recent past. Asking students to keep up with the facts and ideas by committing them to memory is no longer a realistic requirement. We must give them the tools they need to discover and learn on their own.
As lifelong learners themselves, teachers must learn new ways to develop a love of learning in their students. The Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching offered by Fitchburg State University is a comprehensive program designed to guide teachers as they develop the skills and strategies they need to best serve the needs and interests of their students.
The coursework in the Fitchburg State's master's degree program is designed to help teachers make learning important and engaging for their students. For example, in the class Using Technology to Enhance Student Achievement, you will explore "expanding the walls of the traditional classroom with the technology currently available to interact with students." Teaching tech-savvy students that they can do more with their devices than play games and keep in touch gives them unlimited resources for exploring the world.
Teaching in a Diverse Society
As the classroom becomes more culturally and linguistically diverse, teachers must be prepared to support students of all abilities, learning styles, traditions and backgrounds. Coursework at Fitchburg State includes:
Dynamic Perspectives in Education - Discuss key issues that educators face every day, including diversity, legislative mandates and instructional decisions.
Topics in Differentiating Content Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms - Learn how to work with students from diverse backgrounds, how to differentiate instruction and how to keep expectations high for all learners.
Strategies for Creating a Positive Learning Environment - Design a safe place for students, both socially and academically. Classroom management, interventions and best instructional practices for students with disabilities will be discussed.
Benefits for Classroom Students
Earning a master's degree in education is beneficial not only for experienced teachers but also for their students.
- When teachers understand the value of data collection and evaluation to drive instruction, students no longer sit through what they already know and miss what they need. (Using Data to Improve Student Learning)
- Teachers learn and help their students understand the value of reading and writing as they relate to all learning. (Reading and Writing in the Content Areas)
- The creation of an inclusive and safe learning environment in which teachers effectively differentiate instruction and respect all learning styles benefits teachers and students alike. (Strategies for Creating a Positive Learning Environment)
When you complete the Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching program from Fitchburg State University, you will have the tools and skills you need to support the development of independent learners in an inclusive classroom. You will be ready for teaching in the 21st century.
Learn more about Fitchburg State's online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching program.
Sources:Education Week: How Do You Define 21st-Century Learning?
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