So I decided to check out the IMOOC for 2017 based on George Couros' Innovators Mindset. I'd been meaning to read this book for ages and thought it might make me finally get into it. A fabulous first week intro with the guest speaker for the week one of my absolute favourites - Jo Boaler. Loved that I could listen to the podcast while travelling to this beautiful place - Lake Tekapo. (Except it was pouring with rain while I was there!)
The blog prompt for this week is Why is innovation in education so crucial today? I decided to write about something that was probably my key takeaway from the assigned chapters and which has stuck with me all week after listening to the podcast.
Often when I work with teachers, they tell me that they really want to be innovative, but national standards are in the way, or NCEA is in the way. (International readers, these are New Zealand's high school assessments and an elementary school reporting requirement.) In George's book, I loved this phrase - We have to innovate - INSIDE THE BOX! We have to look at the realities of our situations and create something new. Our kids can't wait for a new government, a new Minister of Education, a principal who understands etc. etc. There will always be constraints - laws, money, time, resources, but there is still room for innovation. This is why innovation is crucial - our kids need it.
On page 10, George shares Dr Joe Martin's quote - "No teacher has ever had a former student return to say a standardised test changed his or her life." Absolutely! We have to keep true to our vision of teaching and learning - confident, connected, lifelong learners. I truly believe that kids who are excited about learning and allowed to learn in the way that suits them best will achieve standards set by some external source.
My other good reminders from this first session - Innovation starts with a question, Innovation can be simple. George defines innovation as a "way of thinking that creates something new and better. Innovation can come from invention, or iteration but if it does not meet the idea of something new and better it is not innovative." Looking forward to next week's session!
Further Reading: A interesting business blog post about "in the box" thinking.
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.