More on schools teaching innovation

Innovation is an essential focal point in business, technology, and as a characteristic that is to be embraced. So we wondered how innovation is being taught in schools. Here is how our Zintro experts responded.

CLSinNYC, a counselor with experience in education, thinks that K-12 students are not taught to be innovative because innovation is not something that is taught, but rather something that is fostered from within a person. “There are educational approaches that create an environment where students feel safe being innovative, such as when a teacher allows students to explore approaches that are new to them in the context of a science fair project,” he says. “Similarly, this can be encouraged within different disciplines in the arts. Innovation is fostered when educators are secure enough to allow students to have an open environment. Innovation is not inherent in the tasks, but brought out by the nature and nurture of educators.”

Prof J, an expert in online education, points out that there are many teachers who are creative and teach fabulous ideas that engage students and help them to think outside the box. “For example, one teacher I know uses licorice to teach angles to 6th graders. Another uses a big stuffed bear as the class mascot. Part way through the term, the bear goes missing, and the kids have to read to find clues to where the bear is hiding,” Prof J says. “Other innovations I’ve noticed are multimedia projects using videos, interviews, and music to express ideas of art, culture, or just a day in the life of a particular student.”

Prof J says that we often think of technology as innovation, and it is; however, we don’t always to turn to technology in order to be innovative. “Some of the simplest ideas can open students’ eyes to all sorts of new experiences. Tapping into their imaginations is the key, and teachers have to be creative to do this.” Prof J has the following suggestions for improving the teaching of innovation for students:

  • Teachers need to be excited about what they teach. “If they’re worried about budget cuts and keeping their job, those feelings might show through into their teaching,” he points out.
  • Teachers need support for what they do in the classroom as well as being accountable. Administration needs to be accountable, too. “A teacher who is struggling with classroom management isn’t going to be doing much educating. Assigning mentors or visiting with the teacher to provide suggestions can be helpful and appreciated,” says Prof J.
  • Parents must get involved and advocate for positive education legislation, including additional funding.
  • Students need to be open minded, as do their parents.

By Maureen Aylward

Zintro, Inc

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