How To Safely Innovate In Your Classroom -Turning Up Student Choice And Collaboration

Innovation in education can be intimidating. It’s natural to worry about falling behind on covering standards, facing pushback from administrators and parents, and not having the resources to execute your ideas. But the real risk lies in not trying. If we don’t innovate, we risk perpetuating a system that may not be serving our students’ needs, and we risk losing our passion for teaching The risk of not making a bigger difference in the real lives of your students. We risk preparing our students for exams but not their future.

Yet, in our schools, moving an extra inch can be hard, much less the extra mile. There is a simple and safe way forward. And you do not need a new curriculum, overthrow the system, or buy expensive resources to do it.

With 2 simple dials, you can safely grow an innovative learning environment without fear.
These 2 dials are student choice and student collaboration. As you increase these 2 dials, the rest of the 21st-century life and career skills grow along with it. Self-direction, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and complex problem-solving. When you turn these dials all the way up, you see students working and learning in self-managing teams, which is what powers the engine of innovation in companies today.

But how can we innovate safely and effectively? The answer is simple: by turning up the dials on student choice and collaboration. These two elements are crucial for fostering 21st-century skills of self-direction, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and complex problem-solving. With just a few small adjustments, you can transform your classroom into an innovative learning environment that fosters creativity and encourages students to think for themselves.

As educators, we constantly seek ways to engage and empower our students. One effective method is by increasing student choice and collaboration in the classroom. But how can we do this safely and effectively? There are two approaches: scaffolding and the safety net.

Scaffolding involves gradually building up student choice and collaboration, much like lifting weights and starting with lighter weights before adding more over time. It is a start small and grow strategy. This approach is safer and allows for steady progress, but it may take longer to see results.

On the other hand, the safety net approach involves pushing preceived comfort levels, going far beyond what you do today. It’s like walking a tightrope with a safety net underneath – if it becomes too much, you can dial back the level of choice and collaboration. It is a start big, then step back strategy. This approach can break through limiting beliefs and allow for faster progress, but it requires a bit more bravery.

Whether you take a scaffolding or safety net approach, you can safely innovate to make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you start small or big – what matters is that you take that first step. So don’t wait any longer – start turning up those dials of choice and collaboration, and watch your students thrive and recapture the joy of teaching!

P.S. – Check out the Spectrum of Choice and the Spectrum of Collaboration to see how you can set these dials.

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