Secondary schools in Singapore called “future schools” leverage technology in interesting ways. Rather than limiting mobile phone use, instructors use texting and tweeting as classroom teaching tools to encourage students to participate in class. Similarly, rather than seeing Facebook as a distraction, instructors set up Facebook pages where students can post questions and answer each other’s queries on the fly.
We look at how the world has changed. Teaching cannot stay stagnant… Teachers here recognize that they cannot teach the same way they were taught 10-20 years ago. They have to be very adaptive in their methods. When they do that well, they know they are going to engage the kids. And when you engage the kids, that is where real learning takes place.
Interestingly, the educators also have practical teaching sessions where one instructor delivers a lesson and the others critique it and seek out new ways to incorporate technology into the curriculum. These teaching development practices, I believe, are essential in being a good educator.
There’s always something new to learn. You never stand still. We’re always moving ahead, pushing boundaries, trying to discover new things, new ways of teaching. It’s exciting. Even if a pedagogy is sound, there’s always the technology that challenges us. We always have to find new ways to connect with the kids and to challenge them.