How teaching in classrooms is evolving to teach social responsibility to kids by Alma Causey

The social, political, and economic changes that occurred in the last few decades have had a profound impact on how we educate our kids. Schools, classrooms, and the methods of teaching have undergone ample transformation to meet the challenges brought by globalization, innovation, and technological development.

Not only the mode of teaching, but the curriculum, courses, and subjects have also changed to equip students better to face the challenges of the future world.

The changing roles of a teacher:
The job of a teacher even two decades ago was massively different from that of today. The role of a teacher in children’s education, and the profession as a whole, have undergone some fundamental changes.

The old ‘show & tell’ practices have now been replaced with modern techniques that focus on collaboration and cooperation amongst students and teachers.

Teaching is no longer only limited to lecturing students who sit in rows and dutifully take notes of what they hear. Instead, the focus is now to develop multidimensional skills in kids and provide them a rich and rewarding learning experience.

These changes are prompted by the advancements in technology and the introduction of new tools and a progressive environment. Thanks to the transformation in education, kids now have greater opportunities, both in the classroom and the outside world, to enhance the socio-political and cultural health of their communities.

They are encouraged to think critically, engage in constructive dialogues, and apprehend the complexity of various public issues. Teaching kids these skills at an early age is actually enabling them to be responsible not only in the classrooms but also at home and in the communities. It is called social responsibility.

Social responsibility, as defined by Sheldon Berman in his 1990 paper, is;
“A personal investment in the well-being of others and the planet.”
In his paper Educating for Social Responsibility, he adds that social responsibility doesn’t just happen. It requires intention, attention, and time.

This blog outlines the evolution of teaching in classrooms, which has created a comfortable environment for instilling social responsibility in kids.

1. Progressive learning environment:
Gone are the days when students couldn’t approach or were scared to reach out to their teachers. The classroom environment today is built on openness, which encourages inquiry and engagement.

Unlike the pressure cooker situation that existed some decades ago, it is now common to hear cheery greetings in the corridors, revealing the informality between students and teachers.

This makes the classroom a breeding ground for cooperation, collaboration, and values that enables personal and professional growth. Teachers don’t just interact with students regarding the syllabus, but they also engage to develop ways that can address social, cultural, and environmental challenges.

Many schools are now modifying their curriculum to empower the next generation to meet the needs of the society. For example, I recently learned about a school that is teaching the kids social entrepreneurship in San Jose, California. The course will help children to evolve into socially responsible citizens and reach beyond themselves to make a difference in the world.

In this way, kids can come up with solutions for the problems that are pervasive in our society. Many organizations, such as the British Council, are also focusing on entrepreneurial approaches to produce social change-makers who can tackle complex social problems.

2. Additional tools:
In the past, teaching and learning in classrooms were facilitated by chalks and blackboards. Teachers and books were considered as the information oracle, and there were no other means available to the students to gain knowledge.

But today, there is a multitude of tools and resources that facilitate learning. By making its way into classrooms, technology has impacted learning and changed the fundamental job of teachers. They no longer distribute facts but rather help kids to use new tools and develop multidimensional social skills

It enables kids to think critically, make informed decisions, and take actions that benefit both the student and society.

With the help of overhead projectors, interactive panels, and software like PowerPoint, teachers are able to enhance the quality of education for students. These tools have made learning more interactive and helped both teachers and students to achieve learning objectives.

This exciting development has allowed teachers to spend more time working one-on-one with students and making them socially responsible citizens.

2. The use of social media:
The prevalence of social media in our society has become an undeniable reality. While some teachers frowned upon the idea of using social media in classrooms, the widespread use of these sites suggests that there is no escape from them now.

Educators have been increasingly trying to focus on teaching kids how to use social media to make a positive social change. Various schools and education institutions are running Facebook and Twitter campaigns to help students connect personally and globally.

Many students were able to utilize social media to raise funds, collect donations, and serve communities in events like the hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The awareness due to social media has led to an increased sense of responsibility among them and helped them become responsible citizens. It has also helped students identify new ways to collaborate and take action as a community.

3. Mobile learning:
Mobile learning has changed the concept of classrooms in the modern world. Learning that previously required field trips and study tours can now be made without leaving the desks. This, however, requires some monitoring strategies to work effectively. But if students, parents, and administrators can manage to make it work, the possibilities of collaboration and learning are endless.

Gadgets like smartphones, laptops, and tablets, enable students to identify potential collaborators, engage in project-based or experiential learning, and participate in Skype classrooms, often in other countries and languages.

Key takeaway
Social responsibility means that our words and actions shall make a positive impact on individuals and society. This sentiment cannot be emphasized enough in an increasingly connected world. By teaching social responsibility at a young age, teachers can create more inquisitive and thoughtful citizens for tomorrow.

About Alma Causey
Alma Causey is a blogger by choice and profession. She loves to read and write about different aspects related to technology and medical.