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Tools for Innovation in the Classroom

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Tue, May 23, 2017 @ 12:41 PM

I was recently a motivational speaker for a large school district. The theme of the event revolved around building a future generation that is innovative and creative. When it comes to helping prepare students for an ever-changing work world, our education system is not helping.

After listening to the discussion in the room, several themes emerged:

We make life far too serious for young people. The pressures of life ( and being an adult) will catch up with them eventually. It may be far better to give them tools and resources to fall back on under stress. 

If you give someone a challenge and they enjoy it, there is a much better chance they will succeed. If you provide them with a challenge and tell them it will be hard and they won't enjoy it ( ie-homework ), likely they will loathe it and struggle through. 

If we could set students up to think about work, not as a battle or a fight but an enjoyable endeavour, we would help them build a more rewarding relationship with work.

I think kids are uniquely creative and want to engage in learning. When I go to my seven-year-old son's classroom, and a question is asked to a group of grade one students, half the hands eagerly shoot up. 

Put a question to a group of adults, and no hands go up, as they all look around at others for their feedback first.

I think the difference is children are eager to engage in learning, while adults are habituated to sitting back and passively digesting ideas. We judge our thoughts and others first to see if they are even relevant. 

Next, traditional education tends to encourage students to write ideas down or file them away, instead of integrating them now. The world of work today is think now, act now. If you don't use an idea now, it may get lost and forgotten.

Thus, the more fun, engaging and hands- on education is the more kids will enjoy learning and thrive in the new economy.

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