Expectations for Teachers in the 21st Century

Between working in a time of increasing digital technology, high-stakes testing, diverse classrooms, the 21st century teacher needs to wear more hats than ever before. Jeff Dunn from Edudemic.com has put together the following chart outlining 8 essential characteristics for teachers of the 21st century.


Dunn emphasizes that teachers do not have to embody all of these characteristics all the time. Rather, he explains: “What you do need to do, though, is be able to pull from experience and be a leader, a collaborator, a communicator at a moment’s notice. That’s what (to me) a 21st century teacher does.”

Are there characteristics you think are not included? Is it realistic to expect all teachers to be experts in multiple areas? To be able to wear multiple hats at any time? And wear them well?


3 thoughts on “Expectations for Teachers in the 21st Century

  1. There is something inherently stressful in this chart for me. I agree with your line of questioning Pooja. And what is missing? The element of human spirit. When I review this chart I do not feel joyful nor a sense of joy for learning. I feel a sense of competition and achievement. It brings me back to ask the question educator for what purpose?

  2. I find this model to be exciting! I think teachers have always been all these things, but with how quickly society is changing, I think we need to sharpen our toolbox and language for communicating about these things we do.

    I think that teacher preparation programs need to be framing more courses and discussions in terms of the points on this chart. In the program I teach for, the Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program, we really try to instill all of these things as values for the teachers we send out into the world. Many settings our graduates end up in (everything from public to private, working with infants to 5th graders) are challenging, but having a solid foundation in 21st century thinking prepares them to navigate the challenges and opportunities with grace.

    I wonder if what’s missing is “The politician” or “The advocate”, because there are more and more reasons for us to engage in political rhetoric and advocacy to fight for what we believe about education and learning.

    1. Thanks for your comments! I agree with you. I think “the advocate” is a characteristic which should be added to the chart. It’s a role that teachers play in and outside of the classroom on a regular basis. I think “the politician” characteristic is interesting as well. Our classrooms and our teaching, whether we like it or not, are political. I always remind myself to try not push my own political agenda on the students; rather, create space in the classroom to talk about a variety of social and political issues and bring in multiple perspectives.

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