If you have not seen the video on YouTube "An Open Letter to Educators" by Dan Brown (no, not the author) you really should take the time and watch. I had seen it before I read the book, and have re-watched multiple times since.
"Most societal entities are reinventing themselves to prepare for this revolution ......but what has education done to reinvent itself, in my experience, nothing." (Dan Brown) This is a powerful statement, from an individual who was in direct proportion of how education was happening. Yes, this video was made 6 years. Yes, you can say he was attending a mid-western university, and you might say we're not as up to date with new things. Or you might write him off as being a person with so much intelligence, that no university would be able to challenge him, he's a prodigy that will only learn best on his own. What ever you want to say, to disagree with him, it would be just an excuse.
I watched this video again (a few times) before writing this blog. What I found profound is not what was said or how he said it, but that today, six years from when he made it, schools are finally starting to look differently at education and what is being expected of students (at least in my district). 6 long years, and we're just getting started. No longer are we being questioned or observed on how much our students can regurgitate when directed, but instead what critical thinking skills are students being asked to use, collaboration with classmates, connecting with people outside of the classroom, school district, even the city or county we live in. These are the life skills needed to survive after it's not longer prudent for Mom to make your meals everyday and Dad to service your vehicle and help you change a tire.
Being of an innovative mindset means we as educators are finding and developing new ways to challenge our students way of learning. We need to take them out of their comfort zone, because the "real life" will, and from my own experience more times than I would like to admit. Students are going to learn in ways their parents never did, so we will have the task of educating parents and defending what we are trying to teach their child, that we have, and always have had, the best interest of the student at the fore-front of all we do. Administration, school boards, community members, they will all need an education of their own that schools today are not the schools they attended. My youngest daughter has only been out of high school four years, and it's not even the school she attended. And my guess is after the next five years it will look entirely different again.
What resonated with me most from the introduction (and probably what pulled me in and got me brainstorming) was this quote:
Many teachers are bored with the profession because they know there is a lot more to learning than what schools offer today., These teachers want to be innovative, but, instead of connecting and learning from others around the world, let alone with colleagues in their own schools, they spend their time in staff meetings that often seem irrelevant to the heart of teaching. They are constantly told that if they want to be innovative, they are going to have to find time to do it.
As leaders, if we ask teachers to use their own time to do anything, what we're really telling them is: it's not important.This screamed to me. I knew how we continued to encourage staff to be innovative was going to have to change if we were really going to make a difference.