Innovation is an obvious word to include in learning. We have to be able to make changes. We need to be open to change. I really like what The Mindset of the Innovator says about the enemy of innovation: “Isolation is the enemy of innovation”. I think that this is true. We need to be able to learn from others, to be open to learn from others. We can’t teach ourselves everything and can’t be expected to teach students if we aren’t open to use others as a sounding board or take advice from those with more experience. That’s why I have a Pinterest board with nothing but ideas for my classroom including writing prompts, graphic organizers, and ways to get students into reading with lesson plans for specific books. I think that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to make changes and be willing to work with others for those changes.
Unlearning, in my opinion, is harder than innovation. I think we all have an idea of the classroom we want and can’t imagine having to unlearn everything we think that the classroom should be. But, according to The Unlearning Curve, we need to stop thinking of the classroom as a place of stifled learning. We need to think of our classrooms as a place where everyone, including the teacher can learn. I chose a few of the ten things that teachers should unlearn, the ones that I like the most, to discuss. We need to unlearn “the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom”. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who know more about my content than I do in the state of Nebraska alone. I need to be willing to connect students with someone more able to answer questions, or be willing to connect with those people myself. The classroom is no place for pride, it is a place where students come to learn. If I can’t answer the question, it’s my job to find the person or people who can. We need to unlearn “the idea that every student needs to learn the same content”. Yes, there is a curriculum that we teach, but at the same time, not all students “get” the same thing from the same reading/assignment. We need to figure out what students are picking up, and figure out how to use that to their and our advantage.