I am participating in season three of the #IMMOOC (Innovator's Mindset Massive Open Online Course). During this course, I will have the pleasure of listening to a handful of highly respected leaders in education, participate in multiple #edchats, and blog about the book, Innovator's Mindset by George Couros.
So, here's blog post #1 of this experience. As I read the Foreword and Introduction of the book, a few quotes resonated with me about why innovation in education is so crucial today.
"Right not we have many twenty-first-century schools with twentieth-century learning." p. 3
We do. While school walls may have a fresh coat of paint, flexible seating and/or technology available, we still "do school" the same way. Too often the teacher still holds most responsibility for the teaching and learning. The teacher creates lessons, hands resources for students to use, decides the pace and process, and documents the learning. Not enough has changed. Innovation is needed.
Kids walk into schools full of wonder and questions, yet we often ask them to hold their questions for later, so we can "get through" the curriculum. p. 4
I see it happen. I am a K-5 general music teacher. I have the pleasure of watching my students grow during their elementary school experience. In Kindergarten, kids are excited about learning. They are ready and willing to explore, question, and experiment. Their love for learning is contagious. There is a spark of curiosity and wonder that is so lovely to be around. Yet, too often, I watch some of my students lose their spark as they get older. All of the sudden these students don't bounce into my room anymore. Often their heads are down. It's really heartbreaking to see. When I ask these upper elementary students what is wrong, they often can't articulate what's wrong. Too often we put their questions on hold for the sake of "getting through" the curriculum. Innovation is needed.
Compliance does not foster innovation. p. 5
I read Danial Pink's book, Drive, and my eyes were opened to what science tells us. Extrinsic motivation doesn't work. While sticks and carrots (certificates, sticker charts, etc.) feel like they work in the moment, they don't help in the long run and often times they cause harm. Instead, Daniel Pink says we are intrinsically motivated when we have autonomy, mastery and purpose. We don't need extrinsic motivations when we have choice, a purpose and time to work towards mastery. In fact, extrinsic rewards can ruin an experience when a person was intrinsically motivated but then offered an extrinsic reward. Compliance with 'If and then" statements or carrots and sticks don't work and yet they are ALL over our school systems. Innovation is needed.
First and foremost, if we want "innovative students", we will need "innovative educators." p. 5
How can we ask our students to be innovative if we aren't innovative ourselves. We have to model it if we want our kids to take the leap. Let's be honest. Innovation can be scary and it involves risks and failing.
We need people with a growth mindset. We need people who aren't afraid to take risks and fail.
We need people who are self-starters.
We need people who can persevere through hard work.
We need people who are passionate and inquisitive.
We need lifelong learners. Innovation is needed.
Building innovative organizations will take all of us working together. This is not about a "top down" or "bottom up" approach as much as it is about "all hands on deck." And it is possible. p 6
All hands on deck is what's necessary. We need everyone. We all have to take responsibility and start making the change. If we spend our time pointing the finger at others, we aren't going to get anywhere. Together we can do this. It is possible.
Innovation is needed.