Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Inside the Box Thinking?

Layers upon layers, upon layers!

In education we could come up with many reasons to not stray from the way we have always done things. Policies and regulations can leave us feeling trapped, like we live in one of those  never-ending nesting dolls. As soon as we open up one doll, there is another, and then another, fiendishly winking at us. It’s no wonder that many educators become frustrated working within this sort of system.  

Recently, I had a chance to begin diving into The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros, which has helped to solidify many thoughts that have never quite made their way out of my head. Part one of the book talks about change in how we approach education, the need for it, and how hard it can be for some people because, as human beings, many of us just don't like change, period.  He poses a few questions that are important to consider.

Do we as teachers want something different for ourselves?
Do we want to be innovative?
Do we know how to be innovative?

I have become a believer of what is referred to as “inside the box thinking.” Understandably, it’s a fact of life that in most situations we encounter there are rules or guidelines that dictate how to operate. I believe, though, that there is still room inside the box for creativity and innovation and we are only limited by our own thinking and perception as we work toward finding ways to benefit our kids.

"Vision without execution is just hallucination" - Thomas Edison

I often wonder how many teachers are not motivated by what they feel they are being asked to teach, and that leads me to examine the culture within our school. Do our teachers feel free to take risks for the sake of the kids? Have we created a vision that is clear and meets our kids' needs?  Our job as school leaders is to help teachers navigate this not-so-comfortable, but important, thing we call “change.” I have heard from a number of teachers who say, “I wish we could be more innovative!”  So, this is where we all get to decide if we want something better and, if we do, are we willing to ask for help? Answering these questions for ourselves will be important for our future success!

Message to Staff: Empowered?

In school we stress creativity and critical thinking, we ask our students to problem solve, and we stress that these are important skills for their future success. We need to give ourselves the flexibility and freedom to explore in the same kinds of ways. We owe it to our kids to continue to be thinkers and problem solvers on their behalf.

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