How do you create or build on these conditions to support innovation? What has been the impact on those you serve?
What are your connections to the “School vs Learning” image? What would you add or modify?
Which “what if” question challenges your thinking in the Innovator’s Mindset? What would you add to the list of what ifs?
I ditched my highlighter for a text code system I like to call “Thinking Notes” a long time ago, but if I had a highlighter I would have turned all of Chapter 3 neon yellow. It was that good!
How wonderful to “meet” Kaleb Rashad, Director of High Tech High, during this weekʻs IMMOOC. His passion is positively contagious! Seriously, I found myself praising his wisdom with an audible, “Amen!” from the confines of the corner room of my home! Can I just bow down and follow this man to the Educational Promiseland???
In both Courosʻ chapter and Rashadʻs commentary, one thing is for sure: People first, people last, and people in between. As Couros states, “…relationships are crucial for innovation, which is why youʻll always hear me say that the three most important words in education are: relationships, relationships, relationships. Without them, we have nothing” (Couros, 2015).
In regards to innovation, Kaleb Rashad echos, “Itʻs just an idea until you can get the right people together and have the right relationships with each other…” (Rashad, 2016). However, I loved that he clarified with whom we must cultivate our relationships, because I think we can all agree that sometimes we forget the most important person: ourselves. Without understanding our own passion and purpose, and without bringing it forth consciously, we will not be equipped with what we need to move forward with the external relationships and organic “collisions” that give birth to what is new and better…ie. innovative. Cultivating the self is cultivating the group.
In my classroom, our motto has been “No shame!” ever since I can remember. Itʻs a bit of a slang phrase here in Hawaiʻi, and the gist of it is, “Do not feel ashamed! Just go for it!” I want my students to feel free to ask what they want to ask and share what they want to share without hesitation or self-doubt. If we can build a culture with one another that allows for this suspension of judgement, then we will be able to co-create as Rashad suggests (Rashad, 2016).
In a perfect world, “do what they want to do” would also be implied by “No shame!” but I regret to say that Iʻm not there yet. My students frequently have choice, but only after prescribed material is discussed together. For example, I use the same materials to facilitate a group examination of the Civil War, then set kids free to discover anything they want about it. I now wonder if that looks more like school than learning. I mean, what about the kid who has no passion for the Civil War whatsoever? Perhaps I need to think about and recommend a different approach to social studies…
What if, for example, the curriculum was not structured chronologically but thematically, and what if students were asked how and why America experiences conflict. Could students take on case studies and then teach their classmates? Or, what if I stuck to the chronology but just said, “Civil War. What do you wonder about it?” Then, aggregate their questions and let them serve as the skeleton for our Civil War journey. We could put our reading packets in the recycling bin and let them crowdsource useful resources for one another as well. In closing, they could design lessons to teach their classmates about their findings, and we could use those findings to notice patterns or “big takeaways”.
And gosh—what if there were no expectations about what students learned at all, just that they learned? What could school look like then?