I actually read The Innovator's Mindset last winter. It was phenomenal. I felt like a bobble-head doll as I was reading it. It spoke to my soul. I think everyone single person who works with children should read it. I really, really do.
This is my attempt to catch up a bit. It's lengthy and a bit boring for anyone other than me. Apologies...
Week #1 - Introduction
This first week focused on the introduction of the book and the video/podcast discussion features Dave Burgess (in addition to the session leaders, George Couros and Katie Martin). If you're interested, check it out.
Week #1 Reflections
What do you see as the purpose of education?
Why might innovation be crucial in education?
I think the purpose of education is to unlock the potential of human beings and empower them to go out into the world and make it a better place. Innovation in education is crucial because the world is always changing. The world our students will live in will be different in ways we cannot even imagine today. If I am not able to adapt and move forward in our world today, then I will not be able to help my students to do so.
“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”
How are you embracing change to spur innovation in your own context?
I’m always looking for new ideas. Being honest, I don’t know that all my ideas are always better. Because I’m jumping on several bandwagons at once, I often don’t have a systematic and smooth process that works from start to finish. My efforts can be disjointed, although well-intentioned. I think that I’ve done well to encourage and engage my students by building relationships. I need to do better with creating a seamless learning environment where students take charge of their own learning and seek challenge and growth.
Week #2 - Part 1
The second week focused on Part 1. I listen to the podcasts while I'm running, and then I go back through the blog prompts and the millions of highlights in my book.
Week #2 Reflections
Review the “Critical Questions for Educators” in Chapter 2.
My answers to the critical questions...
Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?
Academically? Sometimes. There are times when there are exciting and engaging lessons going on, and others when what we are doing meets the standards, but is just ok. Emotionally and socially? Yes. My strongest ability is nurturing relationships with my students. I try to provide a place where they feel safe, loved, and appropriately challenged. I think that I mostly accomplish this goal.
What is best for this student?
I tend to get caught up in a specific student or a few specific students and I don’t always scale this up for the whole classroom. I’m getting better at allowing students to make their own choices, but need to get better at scaffolding them to that point.
What is this student’s passion?
I’m pretty good at this… Through the relationship building I work so hard at, I typically understand my students pretty well. I don’t always translate that to our academic content. I focus more on how to engage students with our curriculum and make what we have to learn fun. As I get stronger with our curriculum, I’d like to be able to bridge more of those connections.
What are some ways we can create a true learning community?
We work hard to establish growth mindset norms and build upon the notion that everyone has different needs and strengths. We work hard to be sure that everyone has a voice and is valued.
How did this work for our students?
I seek my students’ feedback each quarter through surveys and often daily or weekly through class meetings.
Why are these important to understand those we serve in education?
It’s important to remember that as a teacher, my job is to serve others. If I don’t understand my students’ needs, then I’m not able to help them move from where they are to where they want to go next. If I don’t recognize the way the world is changing and that it will continue to change, then I’m not able to prepare my students to adapt and thrive. It is my job to get my students ready to make a positive difference in the world. If I am not aware of new and better ways to do things, then I am failing those I serve.
How do you embody the characteristics of an Innovator’s Mindset?
Empathetic - Yep. I’m often seeking feedback from students as to how we can make our learning environment better.
Problem Finders/Solvers - I’m pretty good at encouraging them to be problem solvers, but not so much the problem finders. I need to get better at that.
Risk Takers - I’m pretty much down for anything that I think will add to learning and engagement. If it doesn’t work, I’m usually ok with it.
Networked - Twitter. Check. Instagram. Check. I’m working on building my tribe in person too. I’m still in the collecting and building phase.
Observant - Yes. Too much...sometimes. I’m so observant of what everyone else is doing, and then I try to jump into everything at the same time with both feet, and then fail.
Creators - This is a struggle. I have lots of ideas, but they frequently take a back seat to the daily grind of classroom and family needs. I feel like I need to streamline so many things so that I have the time to fit this in, but then that takes time too. And the cycle continues…
Resilient - Yes. I do let things tend to bother me for longer than I should, but I don’t let it get me down too much. I need to do better at focusing on the positive. I just finished reading Jake by Audrey Couloumbis. My favorite thing about the story was the idea that you can always find one positive thing about someone and then you can reflect that positive thing back at them. I need to do better at seeking the positive.
Reflective - So much yes. I don’t always keep track of my reflections or act on them as I should, but I do take the time to think things through.
Wrapping It Up
This was all just a pretty straight-forward, trying to check the boxes, catch-up post. I realize that it isn't very inspirational at the moment. I'll do better next time. I might also try and do a video reflection or something more creative. (I'm currently working with a cut and black eye from a daddy-tickling-the-toddler-while-mommy-was-holding-said-toddler-too-close-to-her-face incident and would prefer for that to subside a bit before I stick my face all over Twitter. Vanity...)
I'm off to check out some of the other blog posts and innovators out there.