Innovation in the Classroom

10 ways to teach innovation
I loved this list! It makes sense. While I’m not there yet, I am making changes in classroom practice which reflect these 10 points. Sometimes I wish I was a general classroom teacher, instead of a language teacher, as I feel that much of this is harder in a language classroom… Would love to be corrected on that!
Lets look at this list, and see how I fare…..
1. Move from projects to PBL I love the concept of PBL – that fully integrated approach to learning; truly cross-curricular. This works really well in Primary School, and has potential in Middle School – a challenge though in Senior School when final exams dictate learning, and almost seem to get in the way of deep learning….
Personally, I have always used ‘task’ as the basis of assessment, and over recent years ‘task’ has become more of a tool for framing teaching and learning. I now begin with a task and then teach within the demands of achieving the task. ie This is what we need to do, what language etc do we need to be able to do this?
So – a way to go on this one yet….
2. Teach concepts not facts I read a wonderful book on this topic by Erickson Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom and believe in all that she says. It makes sense. I am trying to frame my curriculum more conceptually rather than by topics in order to get deeper understandings. This is a challenge in a subject area which has been taught traditionally through topics and themes, with a heavy focus on the knowledge needed to communicate within those topics and themes.
3. Distinguish Concepts from Critical Information

Find the right blend between open-ended-inquiry and direct instruction

Yes, yes, yes! This is the key.
4. Make skills as important as knowledge The trick is to assess the skills appropriately. How do you create rubrics which assess skill development? What are the key skills you want the students to learn? Are these skills transferable?
5. Form teams not groups Collaboration is a key 21st century skill. There is an art to creating teams who can work together. I am not to good in this area – an area of focus for me in my classroom!
6. Use thinking tools✅ A big tick here! Thinking tools are a key to all deep learning. The more I read about 21st century approaches to teaching and learning, the more I see thinking tools as playing a key role.
7. Use creativity tools While I’m not as good at using creativity tools as I am at using thinking tools, the question needs to be asked: how can we develop innovative thinkers if we don’t teach them to be creative?
8. Reward discovery This is a challenge. I agree with the author that our assessment system actively discourages discovery and innovation, preferring learners who can produce according to a prescribed syllabus; who can tick the boxes and jump through hoops. As educators we can change what we do in JS and MS in order to reward discovery. Something for me to think about….
9. Make reflection part of the lesson I incorporate reflection in aspects of what I do, but it isn’t necessarily part of every lesson.
10. Be innovative yourself ✅ I like to think that I am innovative… I hope so anyway!

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