How do you create or build on these conditions to support innovation? What has been the impact on those you serve?
I create and build on equity. Equity meaning that each student has strengths, interests and talents that they bring into the classroom.(Rashad, 2016) I attempt to identify and use these areas in building trust with me and with their peers. I give my trust from the start and I show it through conversations and feedback. I explain why I do things the way I do, I solicit their feedback and make adjustments as necessary. This is not something that most students are used to. I get a lot crickets, but I know they are absorbing what I am saying and just need time to process and find out if I practice what I preach. As the days go by, I make an attempt to “touch” or build relationships with each student to build trust. If they trust you, they will change. (Couros, 2015) I notice students that were not talking or participating begin to feel comfortable enough to participate or at least open up to me about something going on in their life. I think that’s huge because if students can trust you, they want and attempt to be engaged.
What are your connections to the “School vs Learning image? What would you add or modify?
Hmmmm… majority of my classroom experiences fall under School. Other than a business class and a few social studies classes I am a product of the traditional classroom. But, as a school teacher I teeter-totter between the two. I plan for the latter, but depending on the mix of students I sometimes revert to what I know. I realize that usually takes place when I have a wide range of learners. I would not modify or add anything, but I would ask all those involved in education, “do you believe this can exist, how can you support our children to get there?” Another thing I notice is that the School side could be about control, fear, lack of knowledge and/ or passion. Something I think a lot of teachers are experiencing as we shift to Common Core, SBA and EES, but if we have leaders that are Visionaries, Empathetic, Models Learning, Open Risk-Taker, Networked, Observant, Team Builder and Always Focused on Relationships (Couros, 2015) a better future for our students and teachers can become a reality.
What would our schools look like if we really focused on empowering our learners? That would be a school I’d love to be at and would want my own children to be there too. I imagine it to be a busy, bustling environment where students and teachers are working side by side creating, learning, growing. Less behavior problems, communities, families kicking down school doors to get in on the action. Pure inspiration and a sense of belonging. What are we waiting for? What are you waiting for? What am I waiting for?
Which “what if” question challenges your thinking in the Innovator’s Mindset? What would you add to the list of what ifs?
One “what if” that stood out to me is “what if we focused on connecting and learning, both globally and locally? My goal has been to implement Polynesian Voyaging Society, The Hokule’a into my curriculum along with webcasts and all, but because of my comfort level (there’s that word again) I’ve held back. What I can do is to empower students to teach it to me and eachother using HCPS standards and benchmarks, like Couros and his 7th grade Health class.(Couros, 2015)
A few “what ifs” I would add would be, “what if teachers had the time and training to support these shifts?”, “what if educators and leaders focused on bringing out the best in others?” “what if our thinking focuses on what learning can be and not what is has been?”