The children of today will be the leaders and architects of tomorrow. That's why they will need..
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 this teacher down to 5 of the most crucial and relevant. Which ones do you have, and how do your students benefit most from you having them?
They Look Differently at Behaviour
The modern innovative educator thinks differently about a learner's challenging behaviour. As a result, this new lens meets kids where they are. Ross Greene’s work in changing the way we look at challenging behaviour suggests other ways of motivating them.
In-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, and coercive means as well as bribes do not solve challenging problems. In fact, 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 that have difficulties. Of course, it requires planning, time, and effort, but the results speak for themselves. Here is a success story from his website.
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.
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. Thus, a modern innovative educator realizes that something else is needed to increase students' attention spans.
Mindfulness practices in the curriculum make children aware of thought processes and emotional changes 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 a learner's well-being. As such, modern educators know better than to expect their students to simply produce 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 Mindset: The New Psychology for Success is another book that gives us insight into learning well.
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.
The modern innovative educator learns for the sake of learning. They think of how to do things better and they practice. Additionally, they embrace systems that allow learners to take ownership of their learning. A great example is Solution Fluency, the flagship process for solving any problem you can think of.
They Can Navigate the Online World of Information
A modern innovative educator can navigate along the informational highway safely and effectively, and models such skills for all learners. Students nowadays need examples of using safe practices when browsing the Internet for school or leisure. This is also 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 others and bring about 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. Instead they must learn to use the information they find to the best of their ability. This is where the skills learned in practicing Information Fluency become indispensable.
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?
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.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Oct 12, 2018, updated September 30, 2021