We can all be innovators who transform education in order to ensure that all children have opportunities for quality educational experiences. The innovations we make can be small and focused on very specific aspects of education or extensive and directed toward achieving a broad-scale transformation.
On whatever scale we innovate, certain characteristics and ways of thinking and interacting can help us become the innovators who make a positive difference in the lives of the children we serve.
Do you have the following traits and attitudes of an innovative educator?
Curious and eager to learn. You want to explore the world beyond your immediate context. You seek out ideas to inspire you and guide you on your way to transformation of education.
Open to change. You know that change can be difficult, but you realize that it also can lead to advances that benefit the entire education community.
Willing to be a leader. You realize that it is sometimes necessary to be the one to lead the way toward transformation. It may be hard work to blaze the path, but you accept that role.
Willing to follow others’ lead. You recognize that others also have great ideas and the initiative to lead the way. Being a supportive adopter can be your important contribution to achieving a transformative innovation.
Enthusiam and energy. You can inspire others with your passion for the innovation. You can create momentum by feeding the innovative project with your energy.
Respect for diversity and others’ ideas. You know that the best ideas are those that have input from a diversity of voices. You recognize that an innovation from a different context could be adapted to suit your own.
Courage to challenge the status quo. You aren’t satisfied by doing things the way they’ve always been done. You know it can be a risk to try something new, but you bravely explore the options.
Perseverance to keep trying. You are not disheartened when an idea doesn’t gain traction with others or doesn’t succeed when implemented. You realize innovation is necessary for positive transformation and so you are tenacious.
Collaborative and sharing. You partner with others who can help you find and achieve transformative innovations. You share your successes and challenges with others to help them on their own journeys to transformation.
Conscientious role model. You understand that you have a great responsibility to always keep in mind the well-being of students. You take care to ensure that the innovations you pursue are those that will benefit students and model that mindfulness for other innovators.
Through innovation, we can transform our education policies, programs, and practices to meet the challenges we face in the education community. We all have an important role to play as innovators, and nurturing the characteristics above can bolster our efforts to bring about the transformations that will make all the difference for the young people we are guiding on their paths to adulthood.