What is an innovator’s mindset? What does it mean? How does one acquire such a mindset and bring it to the workplace? More importantly, how do you implement such a mindset in your organization?
If we want truly innovative teachers, want truly innovative students, we need highly innovative innovated educational administrators. Simply put, innovation starts with you. Ultimately, innovation isn’t about an ability set: it is about a mindset. If you’re a principal, district leader, or teacher who wishes to empower your faculty to embrace an innovative curriculum, model, or instructional method… you have an Innovator’s mindset already.
Gained through non-traditional teaching methods
If your school lack structure and a common sense approach, then you’re teaching in the traditional system of education. That system fails many kids. Families don’t move forward and stop to look at what’s happening in their neighborhoods and schools, and when they do, they typically decide that nothing is going to change for them or their kids. But if you foster innovation, encourage critical thinking, or foster creativity, then you are providing real opportunities for your students.
Traditional schooling, unfortunately, often teaches children to think by rote. Kids learn today by being forced to think. They are not naturally born with an open mind. But if you can teach them to think by forcing them to, you might as well be training them to be factory workers. The only way your students will learn today is by trying to find out what questions are smart and what questions are not.
Allowing kids to be creative is the beginning of the innovator’s mindset
In the traditional system of education, kids are taught to go to school and sit in a classroom, and be perfectly controlled by rote learning. But, we know from studies that this system produces people who are slower on the uptake, and who learn less. People who are naturally inquisitive, and who love to find out the answers to things. And if you can provide that kind of environment, then you have a student who is ready to learn today.
When you hold a student’s hand and go through a highly structured curriculum, all while following a prescribed path, they are not being challenged, they are being guided. They are being spoon-fed, and there is no room for either independent thought or learning to occur. That is not what the innovator’s mindset is about. It is about fostering curiosity, fostering creativity, and allowing the child to discover their true inner desires. It is about allowing them to use their imagination and to seek out and obtain those things that they want. It’s about giving them permission to dream.
And when you hold a child’s hand through a highly interactive multimedia learning system, such as an IGI camera, or an I Pod system, and they are the only ones permitted to use the toys, you are teaching them to use critical thinking skills. You are teaching them to look for the answers, rather than just accepting what is being fed to them. When they discover hidden gems within the curriculum, instead of jumping on the next shiny object, they are able to think for themselves and solve problems differently. You are stimulating their intellectual development with this type of teaching.
To sum up
So the next time you complain that traditional education is boring or too rigid, ask yourself what type of educational system allows for creativity, inquiry, critical thinking, and the ability to seek out new ideas? If you cannot name one, then you should strongly consider getting your children involved in an innovative learning system that does allow them these experiences. The sooner you get them involved, the better prepared they will be to deal with life. And that is the key ingredient to having a successful, well-adjusted, mentally stimulated life.