Dear educational self,
1. Are you a thinker?
Do you think critically about everything that happens in your classroom, your team, your educational institution? Have you thought about the ways the world has changed and whether your school reflects this? Are you thinking, right now, about why innovation is critical in education?
2. Are you open-minded?
Are you open to new ideas and different ways of doing things? Do you seek and evaluate different perspectives and grow from the experience? Are you rattled by change agents or do you seek them out?
3. Are you knowledgeable?
Do you constantly explore and question educational concepts, ideas and issues? Are you keeping abreast of new ideas and approaches to learning? Do you make it your business to learn from the people you lead?
4. Are you reflective?
Do you constantly reflect on your own practice? Do you thoughtfully consider and evaluate every aspect of life and learning in your school? Do you invite your team to reflect collaboratively with you? Are you willing to take action as a result of your reflection?
5. Are you an inquirer?
Are you curious about new possibilities and other ways of doing things? Are you constantly researching, exploring, discovering and encouraging your teachers and students to do the same? Are you willing to take an inquiry stance and see how things unfold?
6. Are you principled?
Do you have strong beliefs about how learning takes place and what education should look like today? Do you consider the alignment of practice with beliefs? Do you stand by your principles and fight for the change you believe in? Are you honest with yourself and others about why you might prefer to maintain the status quo?
7. Are you a communicator?
Do you communicate effectively with your entire learning community? Are you aware of the unintentional messages you deliver? Do you invite dialogue and discourse? Do you listen more than you talk?
8. Are you a risk taker?
Are you willing to experiment even if the outcome isn’t clear? Are you willing to explore emerging practice, rather than find solutions in the known? Are you comfortable in the zone of confusion?
9. Are you caring?
Do you work at making a positive difference to the lives of others in your learning community and beyond? Do you have the capacity to place yourself in the positions of others and understand their feelings? Do you go out of your way to be kind and supportive towards others and encourage them to grow?
10. Are you balanced?
Do you understand the value of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve well-being for yourself, your teachers and your students? Do you embrace the necessary changes to achieve this?
‘Why is innovation critical in education?‘ George Couros asks us to consider in Episode 1 of the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC. Just observe the changing world around you and you’ll have your answer. I’ve chosen, instead, to ask the above questions of educational leaders everywhere. And this one…
Are you ready to innovate?
Reference: International Baccalaureate Learner Profile.