Teacher Profile

Qualities of a 21st Century Teacher

Qualities of a 21st Century Teacher

Asia Society has a network of schools throughout the country working to graduate all students ready for college, work: the International Studies Schools Network (ISSN). The goal of ISSN schools is to graduate students who possess the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind necessary to succeed and contribute in the 21st-century global environment. Teachers are cricitcal—not only to ensure student achievement, but also to create a school culture of equity, excellence, and relevance.

Informed by our own teachers, we have compiled a list of skills and dispositions we seek when hiring and that we constantly work to nurture. We hope this list will inform your own hiring and teacher professional development programs.

ISSN Teachers Possess the Knowledge Required That Serves Students in Our Global Era

ISSN teachers:

  • Have a deep understanding of their individual content and connect their content area to authentic global issues and perspectives.
  • Understand and stay up to date on current world events, international issues, and global debates and help students gain understanding of these through daily interactions.
  • Present balanced viewpoints on global issues and assist students in viewing issues from multiple perspectives.
  • Have the capacity to integrate international content, issues, and perspectives into a standards-based curriculum.
  • Understand complex problems, collect, analyze, and synthesize information from a range of sources, tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, and produce potentially viable solutions.
  • Understand that decisions made locally and nationally can have international impacts and that international trends and events affect local and national options.
  • Are able to or willing to learn to communicate in one or more languages other than English.
  • Recognize, value, and respect the broad spectrum of ethnicities and cultures in the school community and teach students to collaborate effectively with individuals from different backgrounds.

ISSN Teachers are Skilled for Success in a Global Environment

ISSN teachers:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in, and model the essential skills of, reading, writing, comprehending, listening, speaking about, and viewing media necessary for student learning in their content area.
  • Develop and present information in an articulate and persuasive manner, orally, in writing, and through digital media.
  • Use problem solving skills to recognize and act on the needs of individual students, colleagues, and the school community.
  • Are familiar with contemporary and classic cultures and associated music, art, literature, and trends, and they seek to integrate these in relevant ways into the curriculum.
  • Understand and use the arts from their own and other cultures to assist students in analyzing, synthesizing, and expressing their ideas.
  • Ask reflective questions about their practice and continue to be intellectually curious and demonstrate the habits of mind that lead to lifelong learning about their craft, their students, and their content.
  • Utilize new strategies to reach every student and find resources to maximize student learning.
  • Use an inquiry-based model of teaching that enables students to actively manipulate ideas in order to construct knowledge, solve problems, and develop their own understanding of the content.
  • Use instructional strategies to draw upon the diverse cultural assets within their students, families, and communities.
  • Use multiple forms of assessment and instructional strategies to evaluate ongoing student learning, monitor and accelerate student progress to higher levels of performance, and motivate students to manage their own achievement.
  • Create opportunities for students to analyze and reflect on their own learning and provide feedback about their learning experiences.
  • Are committed to behaving ethically toward students and other members of the school community.

ISSN Teachers are Connected to the World

ISSN teachers:

  • Are proficient in the use of essential digital media and communications technologies and use them to communicate and work across national and regional boundaries.
  • Evaluate, critically select, and use various forms of media, arts, and technology in lesson design and implementation to maximize student engagement.
  • Appreciate and respect diversity and work effectively with people from other cultures, backgrounds, and fields of expertise.
  • Have traveled internationally or are willing to engage in international learning experiences.
  • Are receptive to diverse perspectives, welcoming differences in interpretation and judgment, and able to revise and expand their own views.
  • Accept responsibilities of global citizenship and make ethical decisions and responsible choices that contribute to the development of a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.
  • Are committed members of the ISSN professional community, participating in ongoing professional development, including mentoring, lesson study, peer observation, critical friends groups, study groups, and collaborating with teachers locally and nationally through the network.

ISSN Teachers prepare all students to be Ready for College and Work in the Global Age

ISSN teachers:

  • Design and implement a college-preparatory, globally focused course of study for students that systematically builds their students' capacities to demonstrate college-level work across the curriculum.
  • Recognize the levels of their students' literacy in academic and social language and help them build meaningful bridges between the two.
  • Facilitate learning opportunities that enable students to have the experience of achieving expertise by researching, understanding, and developing new knowledge about a world culture or an internationally relevant issue.
  • Model and explicitly teach students how to manage their own learning by identifying options, evaluating opportunities, and organizing educational experiences that will enable them work and live in a global society.
  • Know the system of schooling deeply and know their students well, advising and advocating for students to graduate with all options open for postsecondary education, work, and service.


Questions about ISSN? Please contact us.

Kate Farmer
[email protected]

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021