The new role of the teacher in the age of technology and information
We often talk about the importance of innovating in education and how technology can help teachers in the task of modernizing their methods and getting closer to the student. The new technologies, the constant flow of information and the multiple possibilities when it comes to communicating that they offer us, open up an immense range of educational possibilities. However, the reality is that, for the role of the teacher in the age of technology and information to be up to the task of this new environment, a previous step is necessary, an internal change that fully affects the educators themselves .
César Bona knows a lot about this , an educational reference and finalist in the Global Teacher Prize , last 2015. César Bona -teacher who teaches 5th grade of Primary at the Puerta de Sancho public school in Zaragoza-, offers us a wide range of ideas with which to begin to imagine the role of the next teacher: How does a good teacher have to be? What qualities should you foster in children? What practices should you leave behind?
The new technologies, the constant flow of information and the multiple possibilities when it comes to communicating that they offer us, open up an immense range of educational possibilities.
For César, being a good teacher is a matter of attitude . It is about infecting children with it and fearlessly entering that “infinite pool of imagination” that classrooms can be. Educating in values and placing respect at the top of the educational pyramid is another of his proposals, instilling in children empathy, sensitivity, knowledge of emotions… and, of course, curiosity. In his opinion, it is “unnatural for children to leave her out of class” to get into them and dedicate herself to attending to the lesson and then repeating knowledge.
On the contrary, his proposal is based on caring for each child, listening to him and understanding his universe to make it sprout from them what makes them unique and special:
“Let’s listen to the boys and girls; let us take into account the human factor before the measure of knowledge; let’s remember that each child is a universe and that the more difficult the child is, the greater our challenge must be (and in most cases it will suffice to see that all they need is affection). And it can never, ever be measured with the same yardstick: as much as some people may not believe it, emotions or happiness cannot be calibrated and we must also educate to give them the tools to find them on their own. That should be our mission as teachers.”
Educate in values; instill respect
The first change that Bona offers us is in the attitude of the teacher himself. He establishes that teachers have the important possibility of ‘educating in a pack’ , and therefore being an example for children. In the battle to create a better society, the classroom must be the first step, and a positive and close attitude on the part of the teacher is a good start.
Along the same lines of improving tomorrow’s society by educating today’s children, the teacher fights against the cliché of ‘teaching at school, teaching at home’ . He affirms that it is fundamental to train the adults of the future in values of empathy, sensitivity and respect, helping them to develop their emotional intelligence: “Writing correctly is what has always been requested at school and there are many more things to ask for, including living together with the rest.”.
Technology is working well in this sense, especially as a space to exchange ideas and initiatives
The teacher likes to make both children and adults think and in his usual talks he usually repeats a phrase that gives him time to do it: “Children cannot change jobs” . It may seem like an obvious conclusion, but it has an important background. And it is that a child who is dissatisfied with his school is a child without any incentive to progress and learn, since he does not have a horizon beyond the classroom.
For this reason it is important to encourage their curiosity and creativity, generate incentives so that they are the ones who look for school and not the other way around. This is where technology plays an important role, as Bona tells us:
“It is a good tool for learning. In practice, technology is working well in this sense, especially as a space to exchange ideas and initiatives, which is very enriching. It is a door for cooperation and with children it can be a starting point for social change from school.”
In short, the change to which the educational community must undergo sooner rather than later must begin with the teachers themselves. The way of relating, communicating or the use of new tools -such as new technologies- are the cornerstones around which the new teacher must settle.