Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A 21st Century Educator

This blog post is about a teacher named Starleigh Grass. She is a BC teacher. She is a "21st century" educator. Although she doesn't call herself this. And that's partly what I like about her.

There are quite a few educators out there right now calling themselves 21st century this or that. Practically every IT company has a 21st century education program. Most BC school boards are all about 21st century learning. And just about every Ministry of Education in Canada is gaga over 21st century everything. It's enough to make you wish the century would be over already.

Basically, if someone or something is calling themselves 21st century - watch out. It's more likely to be about self promotion than about innovation or creativity.

Starleigh Grass exemplifies a self-reflective professional. Starleigh is a teacher who likes "talking to teachers about teaching". She is a promoter of aboriginal curriculum and pedagogy - her area of specialty. She has a PLN. She writes five blogs (some for students, some for teachers). She cares deeply about her students. She reflects on her practice. She understands that relationships are core to teaching and learning. She is engaged in debates about the world and our future.

Her latest blog post is about a project she did with her students to mark the end of the year. They cut out leaves and wrote a message on them about what they took with them from the year - what they learned or how they grew, or just what had happened. They put the leaves up in the hallways of the school to share. It didn't require an iPad. Just plain old scissors and pencils.

She is my idea of a 21st century educator. Just one of thousands across this province.

Check out her blog for teachers at:


  1. I'm just afraid that 21st century whatever is just yet another example of brand-hype [like Year 2000] in which nefarious nonsense will slide in under cover of some jargon and currently fashionable fluff.

    The fact that it's such a nebulous term at the outset gets my radar up.

  2. Sounds good to me (as a trustee who is "all about 21st century learning"). And many other teachers ARE embracing iPads as creative and effective education tools, too, which is also great. But either way what's wrong with the 21st Century? Aren't we living in it?