I have been working my way through a very good book on bringing innovation to school by Suzie Boss and wanted to share some initial notes and observations here.
A central idea in the book is that there is a gap between saying we must encourage innovation and teaching students how to actually generate and execute original ideas.
A number of questions must be considered as we think about this gap:
- What new set of skills and fresh ways of thinking are needed?
- How can these be taught?
- How do we provide opportunities to practice these new skills with appropriate support?
- How can we scaffold the learning experience so that students learn to persist even through setbacks?
- How can we help students discover their passions through this process?
Success in addressing this gap depends on knowing how to frame problems, generate ideas, test solutions, and learn through the experience. This is part of the design experience and requires a balance of individual effort and productive teamwork; of passion and persistence; of providing opportunities for students to engage questions and issues they care about.
What do we need to offer to our students? – If we can address this gap and bring innovation to school, we provide the necessary “training ground” students need to practice problem solving, research, collaboration and other essential fluencies, such as media literacy.
Essential is the commitment that innovation is both powerful and teachable; that focusing on innovation across the curriculum provides a means for teachers to help build essential 21st century skills in their students; and that teaching thought over content is a meaningful endeavour.
Source: Boss, S. (2012) Bringing innovation to schools: Empowering students to thrive in a changing world. Solution Tree.