So the question “How have you been innovative as a learner or thinker this semester?” was posed to me. Honestly, I think this entire semester has been an innovative experience for me.
When I think of innovation, I think of doing something new, that has never been done before, or putting a new spin on something. I’ll be truthful, I’m one of those people who has some difficulty adapting and accepting new ideas. I get stuck in my ways and have a hard time getting out of them. A lot of the reading and research I’ve done has really given me a different perspective on new ways of learning. George Couros stated in his article, The Mindset of an Innovator, “I question thinking, challenge ideas, and do not accept ‘this is the way we have always done it’ as an acceptable answer for our students or myself.” I really want to continue being an innovator in regards to education, because I think there are a lot of things that we can improve for our students.
That was until I took my Literacy in the Digital Age class (and I’m not just saying that because this blog post is for that class). So far we’ve covered a lot of different digital tools that were definitely not around when I was in school. The topics we covered this week were Innovation and Unlearning. I covered what I thought about the innovation part already. One of the articles we read was The Steep Unlearning Curve by Will Richardson. As far as unlearning goes, I know it sounds like some kind of brain cleansing that you get from a mad scientist. It’s definitely not that extreme, although it may be more difficult. It’s actually really similar to innovation. As Richardson stated in the article, “…in many ways it’s (unlearning) simply learning to see things differently or to at least be open to it.”
I completely agree with Richardson’s take on unlearning. People – educators, parents, and students – need to see that maybe the way we’ve been looking at education isn’t necessarily the way we should be looking at it. Even if there are some aspects that are good, there are a lot that could be addressed.
I think one of the biggest things that I need to unlearn as both a learner and a teacher is that just because a student scores well on a quiz or exam, doesn’t really mean that they learned anything. For so many years, exam scores and grades have been so ingrained in our brains as being THE measurement tool for whether or not a student is learning. That’s simply not the case. Students learn when the subject matter is something that they are actually interested in – not something that they are being forced to study.
I understand that we cannot change the way we teach students overnight. It will be a gradual process. I fully agree with Couros, as he stated in his article, “I recognize that there are obstacles in education, but as an innovator, I will focus on what is possible today and where I can push to lead towards tomorrow.” Throughout the semester, I have come to the conclusion that I definitely want to be an innovator educator. All we can do is push forward to improve ourselves as educators in the hopes that we can help better our students for the future.