As other industries as diverse as travel, entertainment and publishing have all been revolutionized by the emergence of digital technology education is still by and large stuck in the industrial era.
There are pockets of innovation occurring at a classroom, school and larger organisational level, yet by and large the sector is largely resistant to change.
How can we make good learning go viral?
In his new book, The Innovator’s Mindset, George Couros examines the psychological and environmental factors that support the implementation of new ideas in education. The title is a nod to Carol Dweck’s Mindset research by offering a further mindset – The Innovator.
Couros defines innovator is someone who is:
- Empathetic – ‘What’s best for the kids.’ Drives practice for educators.
- Problem Finders – In education we spend a lot of time answering questions without asking them. Learning starts by asking really good questions.
- Risk-Takers – Not afraid to diverge from ‘best practice’ to find better practice.
- Networked – Couros draws on the work of Steven Johnson to show that engaging with networks outside of the education can assist educators to develop powerful learning engagements.
- Observant – Notices and names whats gong on in their classroom/school.
- Creators – Makes ideas happen.
- Resilient – Bonces back from inevitable failure of new ideas
- Reflective – Seeks to improve practice.
However, Couros argues that isn’t a mindset that we should be encouraging just for teachers but for everyone – students, administrators are all capable of leading change in the right environment
It is the environmental angle that initially made me hesitant to read the book as it seemed pitched more at a school leadership level rather than a classroom. However, because I have enjoyed reading Principal of Change, the author’s blog, over a number of years I was willing to take a chance.
Despite my misgivings, I found the book highly relevant to my practice as a classroom teacher. Sharing and engaging with the online community is something I know I do well – yet I still find myself wondering if I am slipping and I could be doing better.
The answer of course, is yes.
That feeling of unease demonstrates that I too am learning. The book’s questions to ponder at the end of the chapter will continue to serve as a great follow-up to the Unleashing Learning conference in Melbourne earlier this month.