What messages are you sending?
Let’s consider the messages we send when we innovate in the classroom. We show our students that learning is ongoing, a process and something to embrace – always. Innovation enhances everything we do. It makes life interesting. It creates passion. It’s contagious. But most importantly it says we think enough of our students to put in that hard work!
It says we value you.
This is exactly why teachers are the most important part of the 21st Century learning classroom, as Katie Martin says in Learner-Centered Innovation: Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, and Unleash Genius: “Technology and access to information aren’t the most important factors in creating twenty-first-century classrooms; teachers are. The power of the teacher comes not from the information she shares but from the opportunities she creates for students to learn how to learn, solve problems, and apply learning in meaningful ways.”
When we innovate in the classroom the unspoken messages we send are more powerful than any cool lesson we can come up with. In fact, a teacher who tries new things and bombs is more important than any great lesson. The learning that takes place in these awkward, perhaps difficult circumstances truly teaches our students what it takes – resilience, iteration, and reflection – even a little grace. Nobody said failing meant falling flat! It is possible to fail with style a la Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story. What could be more important than showing our students that we value them enough to stick our neck out and fail and then try again?
Katie Martin asserts that “No longer do students need to access teachers for content, but they desperately need teachers to guide them as they develop the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to be lifelong learners and critical consumers. Students need teachers to help them make sense of information so that they can create new and better ideas that will move us all forward.”
Innovation enhances everything, especially the messages we send. What’s your next message going to be?