The Salient traits of 21st Century learning

Children might frown at the prospect of having to 'learn' but they also cannot do without it. To them, learning is synonymous to studying. We need to make an effort to make them realise that there is more to it. Many children prefer to explore than to learn through studying. To make them learn new things and keep them interested in them, we could provide them with a support system that would encourage them to be independent learners who can also adapt to different situations.

A few tips to help you set up a well-rounded support system for children to learn effectively:

Provide the acceptable and appreciable trend: To keep up with the increasing craze for the use of technology, you should opt for learning spaces that are rich in technology. For instance, you could use interactive whiteboards or internet and projection screen to get children to experience interactive learning. The more you invest in learning technologies, the better you can get the attention of the children. However, you needn't always opt for new and expensive technologies. You can always reuse an existing technology in a different way for different activities and encourage sharing of resources among the children.
Come up with an effective teaching and learning space design: Whenever we think of the classes we attended, the first set of images that come to our minds would be that of us silently listening to the lectures by the teachers, quickly noting down the points written on the board, laborious hours of completing homework, and so on. The age-old teacher-centric periods are not popular anymore. Children of this age require responsive, inclusive, and more supportive training. When you also justify what you teach, that is, demonstrate the relevance of the taught concepts with real life scenarios, you will have gotten the children to analyse whatever they come across.

Make available effective learning technologies: Apart from the classroom sessions, we need to provide children with opportunities to access information through LMS-based self-paced learning platforms, wireless networks, mobile devices, high-quality online/digital learning resources, etc. Ensure that your school's library and laboratories have sufficient technological reach and all such resources are accessible to children at least to the extent they are to you.

Use innovative methods to teach: To be able to bring out the talent in every child in your class, you need to be supportive, resort to flexible methods of teaching — which accommodate evolving pedagogies — and also go beyond using the tried-and-tested technologies and other aids.

Be open to learn with the children: Nobody appreciates having to passively listen to somebody as an approach to learning. Teachers are now not expected to teach but to help children learn. To achieve this, you will have to be open to learning along with children. Make the children in your class realise that they too have a potential for imparting knowledge. When you open your eyes and ears for the children's views, they will know that you value their inputs and be motivated to do a thorough job in whatever they venture.
Conduct skill-based assessments: As many teachers would say, the process of learning is not complete without an assessment of what has been learned. Skill-based assessments are designed to check for the satisfaction of the knowledge and skill-sets required for competency in a particular field. In such assessments, we ask for the 'how-to-do' aspect rather than the oft-quoted 'what' and 'why' aspects. That kind of training will help children seek practical workarounds for solving problems. Unless you let children tend a few plants, how can you expect them to confidently claim that they know how to take care of plants?