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Grading the Teacher on 21st Century Teaching

When providing feedback to my students, I often frame criticisms (pictured below) as "suggestions for improvement," and positives as "successful" elements to an artwork, or assignment. I will do the same while assessing my own practices in being a "21st Century Teacher."

For the purposes of assessing myself, here are the changes I would make to my student critique form, still complete with emojis, of course:

Before delving into the qualities, or lack of qualities I demonstrate as a 21st Century Teacher, it's important to note the types of learning said teacher should promote in her classroom. Koenig lists the following skills as crucial for a student's future: "being able to solve complex problems, to think critically about tasks, to effectively communicate with people from a variety of different cultures and using a variety of different techniques, to work in collaboration with others, to adapt to rapidly changing environments and conditions for performing tasks, to effectively manage one’s work, and to acquire new skills and information on one’s own (1). Koenig goes on to create 3 categories for these essential skills:

Screenshot from Assessing 21st Century Skills, Summary of a Workshop (Koenig, 2)

To begin on a positive note, I think there are several elements of my teaching practice which demonstrate my abilities, or should I say, capabilities, as a 21st Century Teacher:

Given the skills mentioned throughout our course, and restated by Koenig, above, I believe I teach to the 21st Century Skills. As a result, I hope I am at least a somewhat decent 21st Century Teacher! My courses are structured through project-based learning, in a way that promotes problem-solving, critical thinking, perseverance, and self-directed learning. I model many of these skills in my own studio art demos, and lessons. I facilitate and assist students, rather than lecture, and I incorporate modern technology to give students more exposure.

When students are not instructed in working on laptops or desktops on various applications, or learning from the document camera or another digital technology, they are getting hands-on experience with art medium, and are experimenting/problem-solving. Beyond these opportunities provided to students, I attempt to provide quality 21st Century Assessments, through detailed project rubrics (or "performance-based assessments" [Price et al, 4]) portfolio reviews, and self-assessment opportunities. I also create a community for learning away from school, through the class website and utilize Infinite Campus (for grading and assessment feedback, pictured below).

Of course, as the world so frequently reminds us, an educator always has room for improvement! One of the areas in which I could better serve my students would be in the form of assessment. I believe I provide quality assessment, for the most part, but that there is a real need for more frequent, detailed, and immediate feedback. I always struggle with this given larger class sizes and hundreds of students every week, but I recognize the importance of quality assessment if I am to become a better 21st Century Teacher. I also hope to improve my use of peer assessments, to have classes assess each other on the same rubrics that students use to self-assess. In addition to all this, I would like to better teach the importance of this feedback, and of personal reflection on work products.

Overall, I hope to continually work to improve my teaching practice in a way that better promotes 21st Century Learning. I suppose the first step is, as they say, admitting to the problem!


Assessing 21st Century Skills: Summary of a Workshop, Judith Anderson Koenig

Using Classroom Assessment to Promote 21st Century Learning in Emerging Market Countries, Price, Pierson, Light

All photos by Alison Bongiorno


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