Over the past 15 weeks, this class has helped me to become innovative as both a learner and a thinker. We have been exposed to topics that are new and interesting and important to our lives as future teachers, and as a result, the way that I now look at learning and education is a little bit different. As I read through materials and did some more research on my own, I have allowed myself to be open to new ideas and tried things that were way out of my comfort zone. Even though it is not always easy, this has helped me significantly to advance myself as both a learner and a future teacher.
As stated by George Couros in his article The Mindset of an Innovator, “Innovation is not something new to education, but something we can do better.” Even though innovation has always been an option, it is not one that is often chosen. This is not because teachers are lazy, unwilling, or incapable of being innovators, but because sometimes it can be difficult to take a risk and sail into uncharted territory. Humans are by nature creatures of habit, so breaking routine can be challenging.
In order to build a classroom for the learners of tomorrow, we must first begin by “unlearning” what it is that we think we already know. Will Richardson advocates for this seemingly unusual concept and suggests that in order to be truly prepared to teach students of the future, we need to undergo a change of perspective and look at things from a new point of view. I’m not sure how I feel about the term “unlearn” as it sort of feels like taking steps backwards. However, I absolutely agree that we could all benefit from a new and refreshed state of mind.
As technology continues to plan an increasing role in the classroom, we must consider how we are going to work with it. Richardson lists the skills he feels are necessary for 21st century learners: collaboration, critical thinking, oral and written communications, technology, citizenship, and the ability to learn about careers and content. These are incredibly important! As Richardson states, “There is no curriculum for unlearning,” and it is up to us to make sure that when our students leave our hands, they possess these critical life skills.
As I continued on through this week’s readings, it became more and more apparent that state standards, mandated curriculums, and endless tests are not the answer. School should be about obtaining knowledge that we can take with us and use in real life beyond the four walls of our classroom. I was, and still am one of those students who crams before each test, memorizes what I need to know to get the grade and then proceeds to forget it all the very next day. The greatest value should be placed on learning and not on statistics, grades, or standardized test scores. This may be the greatest thing that I still need to unlearn.