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10 Teaching Practices for The 21st Century Teacher

1- Maintain good communication skills

A successful  teacher is one that is able to build a rapport with his /her students, one that can easily connect with his learners and feel their needs as individuals. Open and clear communication is the key to develop a healthy friendly learning atmosphere inside your class.

2- Getting students engagement
There is nothing as challenging as getting students engaged. Today's students are multitasked and can hardly maintain a long concentration. They can easily get bored and therefore disconnected. There are many ways you can fight off this problem : Use interesting educational games and activities, use technology and multimedia resources and finally make your teaching student-centred and try your maximum to relate what you teach to students immediate environment.

3- Use Humour 
Relevant doses of humour to spice up your teaching are highly recommended. Forget about the authoritative and coercive style of teaching , for experience proved that it only disheartens learners and kills their motivation.  Use humour at appropriate times; this can lead to students engagement and build up their confidence.

4- Act don't react
Students are very smart and it is part of their  juvenile nature to try to get you.  Sometimes ignoring a disruptive  behaviour is way better than reacting to it and in case it becomes repetitive or serious then make sure to talk it out with the student involved alone and not in front of the whole class.

5- Be clear and precise in your instructions
Remember you are teaching digitally focused students with short attention span. Several of the problems some teachers face are due to ambiguous and unclear instructions. Cut off on the clutter and be to the point. Show them the red lines and explain to them classroom ethics and what you can tolerate.

6- Give room to individualized learning
Not all students are equal in their comprehensive power. Students learn in different ways, some students  are slow learners and others are quick, some kinaesthetic ( learn by experience or doing ) others are auditory or visual. Keep these considerations in your mind and do your best to tend to every kind of learner you might have in your class.

7- Positive feedback
" good job, excellent,..ect" are simple words that might not mean anything to you but they mean the whole world to students. Think back to the days when you were a student and how a positive feedback from your teacher would make both your and your parents whole day. Publicly praise positive behaviour and show your students that you are celebrating their achievements as well.

8- Involve students in decision making
Students tend to do great when they feel they are trusted and  that they are real parts in the learning / teaching operation. Use voting and polling to investigate about a certain topic or classroom assignment. Try from time to time to give them the wheel and let them lead.

9- Use peer  learning
Peer learning is a form of 'cooperative learning that enhances the value of student-student interaction and results in various advantageous learning outcomes'.  Here are some of the strategies  to help you facilitate successful peer learning as stated in this article :
  • "Buzz groups : This is a large group of students subdivided into smaller groups of 4-5 students to consider issues surrounding a problem.
  • Affinity groups : Groups of 4-5 students are each assigned particular tasks to work on outside of formal contact time
  • Solution and critic groups ; One sub-group is assigned a discussion topic for a tutorial and the other groups constitute critics who observe, offer comments and evaluate the sub-group presentation
  • Teach-Write-Discuss : At the end of a unit of instruction, students have to answer short question and justify their answers. After working on them individually they can then compare their answers with each others."
10- Love your subject/ job
The best way to get students interested in your subject is to love it so much that your passion for the field shows in your attitude. Students positively respond to authenticity. And as Abraham Lincoln once said " Love the job you do and you will never have to work a day ".