Sunday, 6 March 2016

Innovation in the Classroom

One of the big changes for me moving from my last school to St Francis of Assisi has been the amount of time I spend in my car travelling to and from work.

I have found a way to spend the time - listening to podcasts!

I came across this podcast - an interview with Dr Tony Wagner and as I listened to it I couldn't help thinking that this would be great for our community to listen to as we start to think about the vision we will have for our school and our students.

Dr. Wagner tells how teachers must change the way they view education in order to help students ready themselves for the careers of tomorrow.

You can listen to the whole podcast here.

Here are some of the ideas...

Dr Wagner talks about schools that are involved in a deeper learning initiative. We no longer live in a knowledge economy - we live in the innovation era and what does this mean for our students today?

There is no longer a competitive advantage to knowing more than the person next to you.

The world doesn't care about what you know - but cares about what you can do with what you know.

Those who are most likely to succeed are not those good at school and managed to get diplomas or degrees - the future will demand a very different set of skills and dispositions.

Children are going to need to: (this list is not exhaustive)

- learn through trial and error
- learn to take risks
- create
- communicate
- collaborate
- think critically

"It's an entirely different set of habits and dispositions. It's not skills instead of knowledge - Knowledge matters - academic content matters. That's the easy part. Skills matter more than academic content." 

And intrinsic motivation matters most - if you are intrinsically motivated you will continuously acquire new skills and the content knowledge you will need to succeed.

There is a challenge here to get people to understand our changing world, to have a different vision, we are living in the midst of the change and therefore it is hard sometimes for people to see past what they know. 

How do we shift that culture of "it worked for me and it should work for them?"

Dr Tony Wagner was involved in the creation of the film "Most Likely to Succeed."  one of the purposes of this movie was to create discussion around this topic - How the world has changed and what should be the education priorities around this change?

We need to be innovative, but innovative with good research behind us. We need to encourage our teaching staff to do the research and trial different innovative ideas.

Support this innovation with a budget. Work together to create these new practices. Encourage our staff to work collaboratively - isolation is the enemy of innovation. We need to encourage teams of teachers to work together to and take risks.

What does this mean for us at St Francis of Assisi Catholic School?

- We are challenged to share information about our changing world with our parent community
- We are challenged to have a good evidence based rationale for what we are doing 
- We are challenged to share research and evidence with our parent community
- We need to visit other schools that are on the same path as we are and unpack what they are doing that takes learning deeper
- We are challenged to evaluate our programmes in order to ensure that we are taking learning deeper.

Jo Earl

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