Visions for Change in Education
The idea of being an innovative educator can seem intimidating because those words create the perception that you have to implement extremely elaborate and ambitious educational program to be one. However, I think an educator can practice innovation just by taking some small steps to improve teaching and learning experiences; by keeping this in mind, I think I am on my way to becoming an innovative educator. I try to not stick to the traditional “sage on the stage” lecture model and give students more opportunities to be responsible for their own learning, whether it is by incorporating technology, doing a hands-on-activity or collaborating with their peers. One challenge of working for large organizations is that it is difficult to make significant changes in educational practices because of the large number of people that are involved in the process; it can be difficult to get everyone on board. This often results in doing things the way that they have always been done, and students may not be getting real-world meaningful experiences and authenticity that they need to learn. I found Lisa Nielsen’s blog post showing examples of learning activities done in an innovative versus non-innovative way very eye-opening: students sharing their ideas outside the classroom and working on the real-world problems in their communities are great ways to bring relevance, ownership and authenticity to the learning process!
Under-communication as mentioned by Kotter often results in confusion; misunderstandings might occur, and the real goals of the organization are not clear. Kotter’s advice to use a wide assortment of technologies and vehicles to get the message out reminds me of the old educational adage that says you may only reach 90% of the people with your message but you don't want to always reach the same 90%. Finding multiple different ways of communicating ideas will ensure that the message reaches as many people as possible as often as possible.
Dr. John Kotter. (2011, March 23). Communicating a vision for change. Youtube.Retrieved from https://youtu.be/bGVe3wRKmH0
Nielsen, L. (2016, March 13). Are you an innovative educator? Here's how to find out. Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator. Retrieved from https://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.ca/2016/03/are-you-innovative-educator-heres-how.html