PhotoCC- By Robert Occhialini
When thinking about what characteristics determine my innovation mindset, I registered with the ideas of “thinking about what is best for learners”, “I question thinking, challenge ideas, and do not accept “this is the way we have always done it””, and “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”. These ideas are taken from George Couros’s article, The Mindset of an Innovator, which was relatable on all levels. If his ideas were not ones that I do not already share and follow through with, they are ones that I would like to start carrying out.
As a learner, I do think about what is best for myself. I work through different learning strategies, to find what best suits me, and my learning style. I have a lot going on, class wise, and to avoid sitting there struggling, trying to get my assignments done, I try to find the quickest, most efficient way to complete my tasks and take in the given information. However, I cannot say that I always remember what I have learned. In some instances, it is one of those short-term memory, remember to pass the test, and move on situations. Because I can identity with this short-term memorization, as a future educator, I want to do everything in my power to avoid having my students memorize for the test and then forget the content a week later. I want to find techniques that will allow my students to delve deeply into the content and truly understand and remember it. I don’t believe in teaching to the test, however, that is difficult to do when our students are expected to score highly on standardized tests.
Looking back through my education, I didn’t really remember questioning “Why?” or “How?” something worked, or I had to follow specific steps, all I know is that there were times that I struggled…a lot, mostly in math. But, now taking on a role as an educator, I realize that when myself, or others in my class, had questions the response was “Because I said so.” or “This is the way we have always done it.” and I do believe that responses like these played a huge role in my confusion and struggle. These responses are not acceptable in my life as a learner or educator. I am not always one to challenge ideas, but I am better at asking “Why?” and for help when I need it. I have learned that if I do not have clarification, then I will never truly understand. I feel that this goes with Will Richardson’s article,The steep unlearning curve: 10 things we need to unlearn, and one of his suggestions that we need to unlearn; “We need to unlearn that our students don’t need to see and understand how we ourselves learn”. I feel that if students see how I learn and also see my struggle, they will be more willing to ask for help and even question my teaching. I want them to ask me “Why?” and “How?”, so I can clear up their confusion and eliminate their frustration.
I believe that everyone comes to obstacles in life and in their education. I have hit many obstacles in my education and I will say that it is easiest to give up and move on to the next idea, however, giving up does not allow you to grow as a learner; giving up allows you to peak out and not reach your full potential. The same is true for life. There have been ideas that I have sturggled with and given up on, as I stated earlier, math was and still is a stuggle, but I have learned to overcome my defeat. When I decided to become a teacher, I realized that I had to turn my attitude around about math and other subjects that I struggled with. I may struggle, but I still have to be willing to try and ask for help. I cannot give up when teaching my students, they cannot see me give up. I want to inspire them to keep trying, even if something is difficult. I want them to know that I will be there to guide them through with whatever they need help with.
Keeping an innovators mindset is something that I have had to work on, and I do feel that it is something that I will have to continue to work on, but I don’t think there is any other way to educate myself.