Towards learner-centric pedagogies: Technology-enhanced teaching and learning in the 21st century classroom
Effective professional development contributes to improved teacher knowledge and practice as well as deep, meaningful student learning. Despite professional development being cited by the South African Department of Basic Education as a priority goal, teacher professional development activities have been inadequate. In lieu of the teacher knowledge and practice gaps, this paper used a socio-cultural lens to investigate the pedagogical affordances of digitalisation and technology integration. This study is part of a larger mixed method study but focuses solely on the qualitative results. This was done in an effort to understand teachers’ best practices with digital technologies and how they are being used in transformative ways in the classroom to inform the 21st century classroom and encourage a learner-centric environment. The findings reveal the weaknesses of the professional development activities on digital pedagogies and learner-centric pedagogies, which are generally episodic, one-size-fits-all events largely focused on technical knowledge. The chief impediment towards learner-centric pedagogies and the implementation of technology-enhanced teaching and learning is the misalignment between teachers’ digital abilities and the demands of the 21st century technology equipped classrooms. Our recommendation is the continuous situated professional development of teachers, including the creation of professional learning communities and harnessing digital technologies to provide an effective, hybrid approach to teacher learning and instructional delivery in the 21st century.
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