I have already said that The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros (2015) sets my brain spinning and makes me want to talk to my colleagues about making changes in our district. Luckily, one of my co-tech integration coaches, Amy, is reading this book and doing the IMMOOC as well so that's been fun. We talk about making changes to our own curriculum and classes and have found a few other teachers spread throughout our secondary schools who hear our ideas and seem interested. That's fun.
This week we read four chapters in Part 2, chapters 4 through 7, and these chapters makes me realize what a difference an innovative administrator can make. Having had at least one principal whose automatic answer was "no," it would be so refreshing to have a principal give staff the power to take risks, think outside the box, and create lifelong learners. I hope as an instructional coach that I can help teachers feel ready to make a change.
For me, the biggest take away from these chapters is the concept of empowerment. On page 96, I feel like I finally "got it."
"Engagement is good thing, but I've since learned that we must also empower students and equip them with the skills to learn."
If I went back into the classroom, I would do so many things differently and taking this idea of empowerment of students would be HUGE.
I do teach an online American Government course each summer and this summer I want to turn the way I teach (and students learn) on it's head. I worry that since the class is online and I don't see the students in person that it might be a difficult change. It will be so different from what they are used to. Will that make it a disaster? Will their learning experience be a bad one?
Maybe I make changes that are not so huge for both me and them this first time around. I already plan on using HyperDocs, including more student choice and voice, and more assignments that go beyond-the-teacher as audience. Maybe that's enough for now. I think I really need to mull this over and .... Yeah. It's time to do some deep thinking about learner empowerment.