My Reflection on An Innovator’s Mindset

Recently I attended a PD session on Embracing Your Inner George.  Are you thinking the same thing I was when I read the title of the session? huh?

Then I read the description:

“@gcouros encourages teachers and administrators to empower learners to wonder, to explore, and become forward-thinking leaders. You’ll be inspired to respond to students’ natural curiosity, encourage critical thinking, or incite creativity.  We will delve into an Innovator’s Mindset to embrace change and use it to do something amazing!”

Pretty inspiring already right?

There was a lot that excited and interested me during this session.

  1.  One overarching theme was no matter your circumstances you can achieve anything you want to!  This isn’t new thinking for us in education, but I kept thinking about how important it is for us to be giving that message to kids over and over again.  The path to get to where they want to be will be hard, but they can do it!  We believe in them!
  2. At one point we jotted down our compelling reason for working with students.  I want my students to have the passion for reading that I have because literacy opens so many doors.  Reading for me is a way to relax, daydream, escape, learn, collaborate, create plans.  I want reading to be all of that and more for my students! We were told to remember our compelling reason for teaching on the hard days. We all have our share of hard days and it’s easy to have that negative talk going on inside our head.  I love the thought of consciously replacing the negative talk with our compelling reason for why we do what we do.
  3. We need to make connections to the heart to change the mind.   A great speaker on making connections is Rita Pierson.  We had the opportunity during this session to watch Rita’s  Ted Talk:  Every Kid Needs a Champion. If you haven’t had the chance to listen to her I highly recommend that you click the link above.  She is so inspiring and she makes you laugh.  This is a good reminder that we need to strive every day to make connections with our students even (especially) our “tricky” ones.
  4.  “Isolation is the enemy of innovation.”

    “I connect with others both locally and globally to tap into ideas from all people and spaces”

    “I share because the learning I create and the experiences I have help others.”

    I am committed to collaborating with my students’ classroom teachers (look for future posts on this topic).  I know that we are at our best when we are all working together.  I also know that there is a lot of power in taking advantage of what is out there through social media. Recently I participated in a Reading Recovery Twitter Chat #rrchat.  It was amazing!  It was such a unique experience to be able to have this great discussion with very experienced teacher leaders, that I’ve only experienced through their journal articles and teachers who were brand new to Reading Recovery trying to figure everything out.  RRCNA hosts a chat with a focus every month.  The questions to guide the discussion are posted on Twitter about a week before. For more information follow @rrcna_org on Twitter.  This Twitter chat was my first experience with Twitter.  I will admit that my 10 year old helped me set up the account and join in the chat.  It was worth the risk!

  5. The 8 Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset (for everyone involved in education)

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For a closer look at each characteristic see George Couros’s blog.

  1.  Empathetic – Ask yourself, “Would you want to be a learner in your classroom?”
  2. Problem Finders – Take a good look at your own classroom.  Can you find any problems that need fixing?  It is more important for us to teach our students to be problem finders rather than problem solvers.
  3. Risk-takers – We need to take risks with our teaching in order to meet the needs of each unique student.
  4. Networked – It is important to have not only face-to-face sharing opportunities but also to take advantage of social media to spread ideas.
  5. Observant – “Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can get from the network isn’t an idea but the inspiration or courage to try something new.”
  6. Creators – Creating things can lead students to deeper learning.
  7. Resilient – People with an innovator’s mindset have to continue to move forward even when there are setbacks.
  8. Reflective – We need to ask ourselves, “What worked?”  “What didn’t?”  “What would I/we change?” “What questions do I have moving forward?”

Blogging is a great way to be reflective of your learning and to network.  I have greatly enjoyed my adventure into the blogging world.  Be a blogger and be a risk-taker by putting your thoughts out there for us to learn from.

This PD session has peaked my curiosity about George Couros and his book The Innovator’s Mindset:  Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity.  What are your thoughts on an Innovator’s Mindset, Twitter as a way to connect with others, or blogging as a tool for reflection?

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