Consider the remarkable individual we call the “modern innovative educator.” For such a one, gone are the days of teaching from the hip. Today’s children are, in many ways, different from any other student since the technological climate has changed so exponentially. Now our students need strategic, well-thought-out solutions that respect the culture in which they live. That’s what is meant by modern innovative teaching.
We can narrow the characteristics that define the modern innovative educator down to 5 of the most crucial and relevant. They are listed below for you to ponder. Which ones do you have, and how do your students benefit most from you having them?
1. They Look Differently at Behaviour
We’ll start with the fact that the modern innovative educator thinks differently about a learner’s challenging behaviour. This new lens meets kids where they are. Ross Greene’s work in changing the way we look at challenging behaviour dares us to look toward other ways of motivating them.
In-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, and coercive means as well as bribes do not solve challenging problems. They only mask them and make life easier (in the short term) for the teacher. Greene sets out to get schools to adapt a more humane way of dealing with students with difficulties. This goes against the norm and requires planning, time, and effort, but the results speak for themselves. Here is a success story from his website.
2. They Deal With Distraction Proactively
The teacher of today understands and knows how to combat the Age of Distraction. Our kids are distracted by gadgets, the media. and screens. A modern innovative educator realizes that something else is needed to increase students’ attention spans.
Mindfulness practices in the curriculum seek to make children aware of thought processes and emotional changes at the moment they happen. Reflective learning also helps students connect previous learning to current experiences. We now have much more complete information of how the pre-frontal cortex develops and contributes to the well-being of the learner. As such, a modern educator knows better than to expect their students to simply be producers of high test scores.
In addition to this, they also see the need for all learners to have well-balanced and healthy emotional lives. Carol Dweck’s seminal work Mindset: The New Psychology for Success is another book that gives us insight into learning well.
3. They Challenge the Norm
You don’t just stick with the status quo in modern innovative teaching. Why be content to do the same old thing all the time, getting the same old results? Innovative teachers are willing to go out and learn new tricks, expanding their own toolkit. They are lifelong learners themselves, and their outward joy of learning shows and inspires others.
They learn for the sake of learning, they think of how to do things better, and they practice, practice, practice. They embrace systems that allow learners to take ownership of their learning. A great example is Solution fluency, one of the 5 processes outlined in the Essential Fluencies, and the flagship process for solving any problem you can think of.
4. They Can Navigate the Online World of Information
A modern innovative educator has the skills to navigate along the informational highway safely and effectively, and models them for all learners. Students nowadays need prime examples of using safe practices when browsing the Internet for school or for leisure. This is a huge part of practicing Global Digital Citizenship.
Such an individual gathers the best, most valid and reliable information to create solutions. They use collaborative tools to team with different cultures or professionals to bring about useful changes that enhance the world for them and future children.
At the same time, modern teachers know their students need to learn to not fear the online world but rather use the information they find there to the best of their ability. This is where the skills learned in practicing Information Fluency become indispensable.
5. They Know About Student/Tech Trust
A modern innovative educator excels at building trust with their students. By trusting students, they put the responsibility of learning where it belongs. In this way when they are gone from their learners’ lives, those same learners continue to learn and love doing it. This empowers them with self-assessment and collaborative skills. They know what homework they need to do, based on their individual assessment.
Modern innovative teaching is also not so steeped in technology that it forgoes low-tech and no-tech solutions. It navigates the entire gamut of tools at its disposal. The modern innovative educator understands that technology is not the end, but rather only one of the means to empowering any learner to become their best selves.