EMBRACING 21ST CENTURY TEACHING AND LEARNING

The “era of knowledge” demands innovative strategies for teaching and learning. Considering that students have changed during the last decade, the basis of any kind of teaching reforms in Education should start from knowing the characteristics of the protagonists: “the Net Generation” or most commonly known “Millennial Generation”. The Net Generation requests permanent updates for educators since their skills vary according to technology, they are aware of all the significant problems affecting the world, nonetheless, they are optimistic and believe that through innovation and technology, these problems will be solved. Educating this generation implies a permanent challenge for higher education institutions. They are stimulated to evolve and adapt to offer appropriate methodologies and spaces for teaching and learning. 

Our visit to Technion was as equally enriching as the other visits and lectures we had in the previous days. The campus itself is just amazing and it is unimaginable how it grew that big and how it has made a name worldwide.  All the more it became a WOW for us when we learned its roots and beginnings. One thing that impressed us was the opening sentence on the introductory video. It says, “A story of how one stone can change the world.”


We were also impressed by the VISION of those who started Technion. The vision was the driving force that motivated the status of the University today. As people involved in higher education, in our capacities as staff of the education ministries in our countries, school administrators, or classroom teachers, let us also keep that VISION so that we succeed in all our endeavors when we go back home, bringing with us all the 21st Century Pedagogical Skills that we learned from this 3-week course.

In addition to the visit we learned from Dr. Michal Ramot about effective pedagogy. Learning occurs most effectively when the students and lecturers work together for a common product or goal, and are therefore motivated to assist one another. “Providing assistance” is the general definition of teaching; thus, joint productive activity maximizes teaching and learning.

She took us through the higher education lecturer job profile/job distribution which was identified to include:
• Theory
• Demonstration 
• Training and feedback
• Improvement  

Other requirement involved: Professional skills, academic skills, professional experience, colleague/team work, mediator, judge, policeman, a leader and also personal motivation among others.

   

Dr. Michal also gave the learners an exercise to recall their experiences as a student and identified the excellent teacher and a poor teacher; this was done as individuals and presented within the groups of three. The exercise was exciting as many participants remembered their former teachers who inspired them and those who never discouraged them in their learning experiences. Some of the attributes identified for excellent teachers included, commitment, feedback, practical approaches, commitment and organization.

For effective pedagogy the resource person introduced to us the learning styles that teachers of higher education Institution need to acquaint themselves with:
• Auditory learners
• Visual leaners
• Kinesthetic learners

Dr. Michal introduced the participant to feedback for effective pedagogy which defines as an essential part of teaching and learning. Feedback is part of the overall dialogue or interaction between teacher and learner, not a one-way communication. It helps learners to maximize their potential at different stages of learning, raise their awareness of strengths and areas for improvement, and identify actions to be taken to improve performance, identify the needs of the learners, monitors the students learning process and shows a sense of achievement to the teacher and learners. She took us through the most effective principles of giving feedback:
• Be descriptive 
• Be specific 
• Be applicable 
• Give suggestions

We did several simulations and role plays during her presentations which were interesting and targeted to demonstrate to us ways that we can make the students active in learning, through the demonstration we identified our own weakness and she guided us to come up with the solutions.

In conclusion have you ever thought of how you would you feel if you were given the same food to eat for some months? Of course, unhappy, bored and sick and tired of it. Now, imagine your students getting the same thing every day, trying to understand what you are doing there.  You are saying  something they can't get the point, and while listening they fall asleep because of your boring lectures...Next day, the same situation, even worse, they simply do not hear you,      because there is no point in doing that. The truth is that when we have lectures, we don't know each other, it's very difficult to know who we are working with. We don't know what they want, what they need, what they feel. In order to achieve good results we need to communicate in such a way, so that we make each other clear about our objectives. 

The students hate routine, but they get excited when they see something new, when they hear that their opinion matters. Diversification keeps them motivated and collaboration makes them responsible. Students learn not from listening but from doing. Let's make students creators not consumers!


We believe it was NOT by chance that we were chosen to be the participants in this program. You call it destiny, God’s will, or meant to be. We don’t want to sound religious but we could say, WE ARE ALL CHOSEN. We are sure that like the one stone from which Technion was built that led to changing the world, we, as classroom teachers and administrators can continue, if not begin, right on the stone/land of Israel, to make a difference and ultimately contribute positively into changing the world. 

Members of the team:
Julius Maiyo- Kenya
Thompson Olaniran -Nigeria
Sara Duran-Ecuador
Elena Gogoi-Moldova
Emily Dicolen- Philipines 

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