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Redefining the Roles of Teachers in the New Normal Education: Part 2 - The New Teachers' Skill Box

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Acknowledging our new roles is only the prerequisite in becoming effective teachers in the Post-Covid Education. The sufficiency is how to train ourselves to fulfill these roles successfully. Which skills should be in the teachers’ skill box?

Skill 1: Lifelong learning

Generally, lifelong learning is a form of self-initiated education, which allows us to improve personally or professionally. We can train and keep upskilling ourselves to become efficient lifelong learners by

  • developing our growth mindset. With a growth mindset, we strongly believe that we can improve ourselves by learning.

  • taking control of our own learning. That means becoming autonomous, maintaining motivation, and staying focused to achieve the best results.

  • improving our learning-to-learn skill. The American futurist Alvin Toffler, in his book Future Shock, said: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” In this rapid-growing society, anything we learn yesterday can become outdated today. We need to learn how to unlearn old ideas to learn something better and more efficient in our current situation.

  • reflecting on and evaluating our own learning. This helps us to learn from our mistakes and experiences.

Skill 2: Digital literacy

The second skill we need in this technological era is certainly digital literacy. How can we imagine living in this current world without digital literacy right? What do we need to do to get this skill?

  • Understand the digital trends like AI, IoT (Internet of Things), Edtech, AR, VR, etc. It is not necessary to understand what they are and how they work technically, but it is beneficial to know what they can do for us.

  • Learn how to search for reliable information. Searching for information is considered the most widely used function of the Internet, but we cannot trust all the information we found on the web. Thus, it is vital to evaluate the information sources carefully.

  • Master the tech tools for teaching and learning. How can we and our students survive in this online education world without tech tools?

  • Being save in the virtual world. They say the virtual world is dangerous with numerous scams or traps. We must think carefully before posting something on Facebook or Twitter, clicking on a link, or downloading a picture.

Skill 3: Creativity and Innovation

Creativity and innovation empower teachers to enhance their teaching practices, motivate their students, and establish the social relationships more effectively. Below is an example of creativity and innovation by a teacher from Wisconsin.

"During digital learning, I’ve heard students say that they miss collaboration and working with partners to construct learning, so I’ve developed activities to meet those needs. I offered students the opportunity to collaborate in groups as they developed proposals for a business idea. I’ve also offered simulation games via Zoom conferencing so students can spend time with their friends despite social distancing."

(A Social Studies teacher from Greendale, Wisconsin, Edweek, 2020)

To train ourselves to be creative and innovative, we must

  • face and accept changes. Hiding from them or staying in our comfort zone only brings us nothing for our personal and professional development.

  • think outside the box. Look at things from different perspectives and change our ways of thinking.

  • try new solutions to old problems. Doing this creates more innovative ideas and alternatives.

  • get the following phrases out of our mind: I'm afraid... I'm scared... I don't think it’ll work... They will lock us in our personal shells and prevent us from innovative ideas and solutions.

Skill 4: Emotional intelligence

This skill is the ability to identify and deal with the emotions of ourselves and others. As the pandemic is proven to negatively affect people’s emotion, this skill becomes one of the must-haves for teachers in the Post-Covid Education. As teachers, it is critical to understand the emotions of all stakeholders so that we can address them effectively, ensuring the teaching and learning outcome.

For example, if we feel we are getting angry, we should pause our speech, calm down, breathe and concentrate on our breath to switch our focus away from the source of the anger. Or if we notice a student of ours is unmotivated, we can assign a more challenging problem for him to solve.

Skill 5: Connection with people

Research shows that “strong relationships provide a foundation for student engagement, belonging, and, ultimately, learning. The more high-quality relationships students have with their teachers, the better their engagement in school.” (EdTrust, 2021). Connecting with people, therefore, becomes a must-have in a teacher’s skill box, especially after the pandemic. The following tips can help us develop this important skill.

  • Understand people's needs for connection. Everyone has different needs for connection, which we need to understand and adjust our connection with them accordingly.

  • Be truly present in conversations. When talking with people, show that we are engaged and interested by listening actively and asking questions. Do not break the connection by checking phones or looking around.

  • Have empathy. Feeling the emotions of others and with others allows them to connect with us.

  • Emphasize the positives. Our students always need recognition. Praising makes them feel happy, excited, and motivated to learn.

There is no training program that could have prepared us to teach during or after the pandemic. The onus is on us to prepare ourselves and our beloved students for this difficult time. Acknowledging our five new roles and preparing ourselves for them will contribute to our professional development and students’ learning outcome, making learners not only better prepared and skilled at their academic work but also more adaptable to the uncertainty.

* This article is first published in ELTIreland Bulletin Vol. 9 (issued 22 February, 2023). (Accessed 3/31/2023).



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