Prior to the 21st Century, traditional teaching practices were teacher oriented. Long established customs meant the instructor held the power and the responsibility. Lessons were delivered by a lecture accompanied by visual display on a blackboard. A lecture required students to stay quiet, listen intently and focus on memorizing content. The typical learning environment meant desks were usually organized in rows and a student raised their hand if they had a question or wanted to be involved in the lesson. (1) (2)
At Generation Text Online, we understand that best educational practices for a 21st Century learning environment require learning to be student centered. These best practices include specific components to be incorporated into lesson plans commonly referred to the 4 c’s ( critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity). These modern day teaching strategies that require strong communication skills include:
- collaborative learning
- activity-based learning and learning labs
- flipped classroom
- problem-based learning
- Continuous comprehensive evaluation
- Cross-curricular connections
- Emphasis on understanding of concepts
- Linking curriculum with life
- Emphasis on skill building, life skills and values
- Integrative and social responsibility and civic engagement
- Digitization in teaching, learning assessment and feedback (3)
The Generation Text Online framework was specifically designed to encourage communication in the form of discussion, debate and reflection. An emphasis on understanding concepts are learned and practiced through activity based learning and collaborative learning is a common thread throughout the approach. Teachers and facilitators are coached on how to facilitate inquiry based learning by demonstrating how to teach by asking specific and relevant questions. Teachers and staff are encouraged to listen to student’s answers, evaluate the student’s responses and use the Eight Essential Questions to guide students and their peers to uncover the answers themselves. Communication in the 4 C’s refers to not only teachers facilitating learning by encouraging students to communicate, bounce ideas off of each other and build off of each others’ ideas but also understanding what it looks like to be a good communicator. In order for a group of students be able to solve a problem, students are taught that communication means understanding the importance of eye contact, active listening and respecting the speaker and the group. The Gen Text framework allows each participant to link the curriculum to their own personal lives, practice social responsibility and civic engagement, through communication and problem based learning.
Communication is the key to innovation and solving real world problems and Generation Text Online guides business leaders and teachers in how to facilitate active discussions and probe workers and students for deeper level thinking.