Teaching skills K12 teachers must have in 21st century

Teaching-Learning process in school is complex and yet the most discussed process in education industry. The key stakeholders in this process are the Students, the Teachers, and the Learning Environment (provided by schools). Plethora of research has been conducted on understanding the learning aspects of students and very little is conducted on teaching skills. Millions of products have been developed for students to achieve right knowledge and skill-sets. Besides this, many technological advancements have been observed recently to improve the learning environment of students.

Focusing only on the students and the learning environment has resulted in giving limited results to us. We have seen that the students are definitely getting good marks as compared to their predecessors; but their learning has definitely gone down. This concern is equivocally raised by college management, employers, national and international organizations such as Pratham and PISA, and also by the academic boards. Each one is trying to solve this puzzle at their level by trying to find the missing piece that would boost the quality. According to myNalanda’s research, the missing piece can be understood by focusing on the last aspect of teaching-learning process; which is the Teachers and their skills.

In this article, we are listing 8 must-to-have teaching skills which help teachers to inculcate the required skills in students. We have consistently observed that working on this missing piece have resolved the issue of quality to a great extent. Before we move on to the must-to-have teaching skills, it is important to understand basic qualification and eligibility criteria required for teaching profession.

Teacher’s Qualification, Eligibility, and Experience

The basic qualifying degrees for primary and secondary teachers, in India, are D.Ed, B.Ed, and M.Ed.  These degrees are generally done after 12th, after graduation and/or after Masters. There are also various certification programs (for diploma-holders and 12th pass students) which allow them to teach up to 3rd grade.

Besides degree or diploma in education, it is mandatory to pass Teacher’s Eligibility Test. A few of the common TET’s are CTET, STET, NET, SET, and UGC NET.  Most of these tests evaluate teachers on their specified language skill, child development pedagogy, and their subject matter expertise of opted subjects. Actual teaching skills are not evaluated or measured in any of these tests. Therefore, even after clearing TET many teachers are unable to teach well in class. Another eligibility criteria, besides qualification, is experience-of-a-teacher. Experience definitely teaches many aspects of teaching skills but those are person dependent and has cost of time to it. Besides, many a times, years of experience does not necessarily translate into equivalent teaching skills.

Teaching skills that makes a teacher, a skilled teacher

myNalanda’s has conducted extensive research to understand and precisely measure the teaching skills that are core to teaching-learning process. The team has also studied the supporting parameters that facilitate use of these essential skills. Teachers with these skills have shown excellent teaching capabilities and are immensely appreciated by their principal, students, peers and parents across the academic boards.

  1. Evaluation Skill: This is one of the very fundamental skills that a teacher must have. To evaluate a student’s learning, all stakeholders – principal, parents, and students themselves depend on teachers. Therefore, it is extremely important for any teacher to have right evaluation skills. An evaluation style of a teacher can make or break student’s psyche. For more details on evaluation skill, read more here.
  2. Motivation Skill: Motivation is required for all; for young as well as for adults and is a required ingredient in learning process. There are mainly 4 types of motivation styles that are commonly observed in K12 teachers. They are – Humiliation-based, Reward & Punishment-based, Perfection-based, and Student-centric. As a teacher having motivation skill is not sufficient, it important to know which style needs to be followed in which situation and for which type of a student. For more details on motivation skill, read more here.
  3. Teaching Orientation: This skill determines the way teacher teaches a topic in class. Do she focuses mainly on textbook information or teaches the topic using applications or by explaining its fundamentals. This is an important skill which not only defines a teacher but also defines the overall quality of learning happening in school.
  4. Communication Skills: In teaching, communication is just not limited to verbal skills, it is listening, reading, presenting, writing along with thinking style. It is demonstrated that the communication skills of a teacher not only has significant role in the academic success of students but also on their own overall development.
  5. Ability to Transfer Knowledge: In case of teachers, it is a two-step process; a) collating all required information of a topic including examples and analogies and b) converting it into knowledge while effectively delivering it to students. This is one of the most fundamental skills expected from a teacher. It is the crux of teaching profession. The teachers who demonstrate this skill in class are not only appreciated but also respected by students.
  6. Influencing skills: The common concern among most of the teachers is that respect towards them has reduced tremendously in couple of decades. Though this appears to be true; but the fact is every new generation interprets ‘respect’ or ‘response-to-influence’ differently. They have their own ways to display them. The teachers needs to understand these changes and work towards increasing their circle of influence which is currently shrinking due to many changes.
  7. Digital Skill: Teachers need to use technology in and out of the classroom. In classroom, they need to effectively teach and outside a classroom, they need to use it to enhance their productivity by using various digital tools. They not only need to be aware of latest technology but also effectively use them to address curious questions from students. Digital skills are super critical as a teacher and as an employee of 21st century.
  8. Learning Skills: There are very few teachers who upgrade their teaching style by learning new things or new teaching methods every year. myNalanda’s research on Teacher Skill Analytics at state level showed that there are more 77% teachers who have made less than 20% changes in their teaching style since their education degrees. This indirectly means that teachers are not much aware of today learning challenges and hence they face challenge in connecting with students of this era.

These are the 8 critical core skills for every teacher. These core skills need to be supported by skills such as ability to connect the subject-knowledge to daily life experienced by students, awareness about competitive exams, punctuality, school-specific teaching compliance.

Analysis of these teaching skills helps teacher to understand their teaching strengths and skill gaps that they need to work on. Such clear, transparent, and methodical guidance help teachers to upgrade themselves in a short span of time. About 95% of the schools that we work with have observed 30-80% positive change in teachers after such a skills analysis. This eventually had made immense impact on school’s teaching-learning quality.

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