I came across this mind map of the 8 Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset created by George Couros. As soon as I examined it I thought of a phrase I hear more often than not. Before I tell you what it is, I want to revisit the information depicted on George’s mind map. (I LOVE mind maps… it brings out the fine arts geek in me!) If you view the characteristics, they are inspiring!
In my mind, I begin to think this: What if an entire school was filled with teachers who had this mindset? Just imagine the learning that would occur in that school! An innovative philosophy or way of “being” would be the norm, influencing all practices, actions, and routines within the school. This mindset would eventually spill out into the community.
What’s stopping us?
Here’s my theory. It’s rooted in that phrase I hear more than I would care to admit. It flies out of the mouths of educators as I am sharing a practice that is new or different from the status quo. The phrase is:
“Our kids can’t do that.”
I’m sure one can actually hear my heart breaking as I try to keep my face from showing both sadness and disappointment. I stifle the temper tantrum that tempts me to shout, “You’re wrong!” and instead, I ask, “What is prompting you to say that?”
And you know what? The answers I hear reveal what matters…
It’s all about the mindset; the collective mindset.
The culture needs to shift. The glass ceiling needs to break. The vision for innovation MUST be defined collectively from within the organization and a plan for implementation must be developed. We learn together. We gift each other with our knowledge and mistakes and discoveries and passion. And most importantly, we believe this:
“Our kids can do THAT… and more!”
Why… because they can.
“Children will learn to do what they want to do.” Sugata Mitra states. He should know. He installed a computer in the middle of a dusty village in Central India. Four hours after the computer was installed, the children had recorded their own music and were able to play it back for their peers.
Hello Hubs are pop up computer kiosks in remote location where teachers are reluctant to live and work. After the locals are taught how to install the kiosks, it’s up to the kids to learn how to use them. Katrin Macmillan, founder of Projects for All explains, “children take their education to greater heights than we could ever have imagined.”
No more limits. If children who live in refugee camps and isolated villages in third world countries are able to innovate without adult guidance, then our learners who have access to the resources in our public school system can do that and more!
Can your school adopt a collective innovative mindset?
Dr. Frances A. Miller,