This post is part of a blog hop on innovation. Details can be found here.
Innovation in Education is…
For me, innovation in education has two parts:
a) successfully navigating barriers to create an inclusive, participatory, and responsive learning environment for everyone, and
b) building relationships to successfully and collaboratively break down those barriers to innovation.
We can’t wait for the barriers to come down. Learning needs are too urgent. We need to work around the barriers to meet those learning needs.
But at the same time, we can’t stop working to bring those barriers down, in a way that is supported by our community of learners.
What are the Barriers?
CEA recently looked at barriers to change in education.
- The system values kids who fit the mould. They do school or they leave school.
- Time (scheduled classes) is a constraint on learning – experiential learning, without the constraints of time, is what we often remember as valuable
- Confining physical spaces – having to learn in specific places.
- Competition at all levels is negative – competition among students, competition among schools, competition among school districts (e.g., which of 4 boards in Ontario will you enrol you child in?)
- Competition limits spread of ideas because there is value in a higher ranking. Sharing makes it more difficult to win, yet ideas are needed for innovation.
- Fear of being judged. This is a pervasive response from both students and educators. Has “growth mindset” thinking made a difference? We can’t do amazing things with kids without the courage to get over the fear of being judged.
- Creative risk takers? We need innovative leaders, yet rarely are creative risk takers seen as leaders in education.
- A narrow view of success. What does success really mean in today’s changing world?
One of the biggest barriers to innovation in education is that the two-digit number that represents children, and where they rank among their peers, determines the learning they will have access to in the future.
We decide on the available education paths by the average mark on the school report card.
When you create a system where a mark determines a future, you can’t ever make it about something else.
Learning to work around and through barriers, while maintaining positive relationships, is successful educational innovation – making the learning needs of all our students the true priority.
Some other thinking about Innovation from Ontario Educators:
Check out more at OSSEMOOC!
*Featured Image created by Tina Zita
CEA: Sources of Innovation (Stephen Hurley)