News and Trends, Stage 1: Adult Learning and Leadership

Trending: The Future of Teaching

image credit:

The way we work is changing.  In Time magazine’s series on the future of work, Seth Godin wrote “Work will mean managing a tribe, creating a movement and operating in teams to change the world.”  Say sayonara to cubicles, data entry, and answering phones and hello to collaborating in teams to solve problems in a knowledge-driven economy.

Normally in this blog we talk about these issues as they relate to students, but this week we’re talking about teachers and asking two questions:

1) What will the work of teachers look like in the future?

2) What are the implications for teacher preparation programs?  

To think about how the role of the teacher will change, we need to consider both how the world of work is changing and how education is changing.

So first for the world of work changes:

  • De-centralized; more free agents: People will work less in a series of positions at one organization and more on a series of projects.

  • Focus on collaboration: Teams, both in-person and online, will be the entity for getting work done.  

  • Increased mobility: Technology means where you work will matter less.

Okay now for the education trends:

  • Technology = personalization: New technology will allow education to be more and more personalized to the specific needs of each individual learner.

  • New types of school: Brick-and-mortar schools won’t be the only game in town.  Rise of blended learning schools and the emergence of MOOCs will diversify the ways students learn.

  • Schools focus on developing innovators: More and more of the skills students need to find jobs (and save the world) will be the entrepreneurial and innovative ways of thinking.  

What these trends mean for the future of teaching:

  • Less Delivery, More Coaching: Teachers will focus on facilitating students’ interaction with resources that fit their individualized learning plans.  Teachers will coach teams of students in applying this learning.  The role of the teacher will shift from delivering of information to coaching knowledge application.  

  • Increased Teamwork: Teachers will work more and more in teams.  Teams will include both long term planning and co-teaching teams as well as more ad hoc teams developed in response to specific needs (e.g. designing a new curriculum on social media).   Collaboration both in and out of the classroom will increase.

  • Rise of Teacherpreneurs: More and more teachers will design hybrid roles that allow them to both remain in the classroom and work on projects outside of what we have thought of as the traditional role of the teacher.  In AdvancED, Barnett Berry explains “teacherpreneurs may mentor new teachers, design new instructional programs based on gaming technologies, orchestrate community partnerships, or advance new policies and practices.”

(For more on this, check out Teaching 2030 – great info on the future of teaching)

For starters teacher preparation is currently in a bit of a pickle  The National Council on Teacher Quality’s June 2013 Teacher Prep Review referred to teacher preparation as “an industry of mediocrity, churning out first-year teachers with classroom management skills and content knowledge inadequate to thrive in classrooms with ever-increasing ethnic and socioeconomic student diversity.”

An article in the 2013 Summer Edition of EducationNext quoted Reid Lyon, who headed a 30-year study at the National Institutes of Health of how people best learn to read, saying, “If there was any piece of legislation that I could pass it would be to blow up colleges of education.”

Given those shifts, we could look at the current status of teacher education in two ways:

  •  Hit the panic button!  Teacher ed isn’t doing what it should be even in our current reality.  How will it adapt to the changing role of the teacher and provide the innovative education necessary for the future of the profession?
  • Perfect timing!  Teacher education is already undergoing a period of reflection and growth.  We can harnass the energy focused on improving teacher preparation to ensure that the sector re-invents itself in a way that will align with the changing role of the teacher.

Let’s agree to choose the latter.

It’s clear that teacher preparation is ripe for reinvention.  As Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “America’s university-based teacher preparation programs need revolutionary change, not evolutionary thinking.”

The time for change is now.  Have a great week.

image credit:


8 thoughts on “Trending: The Future of Teaching”

  1. Reblogged this on Red Pen Confessions and commented:
    Great post to rev our engines for our profession as we gear up to tackle the new school year. Educators, we need to keep our sights set on the long-term health of our profession and ourselves–not just the year-to-year cycle. Engage with these ideas!

  2. This is awesome. Instead of rehashing the old or trying band aid solutions, we literally need to start from scratch and design a whole new paradigm around education and education systems if we hope to in any way empower our current young people (and those to come) to meet the challenges of life and to fulfil their potential. There is no point in building on what’s gone before if it is flawed and teetering, we need to clear the board and start again from the ground up using everything and anything available to ensure that we serve all stakeholders. Bring it on I say and bring it on now!!!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s