Innovation & Unlearning


Photo CC – by Boegh

To innovate means to introduce changes into what has been established. Generally the innovation is seen as an improvement. Innovation in education is a topic that has been explored through this semester, and my hope is that I have introduced something new and positive into who I am as a student, future teacher, and as a person.

To be an innovator, I need to be willing to change. I need to look beyond my own opinion of how I believe thing work most efficiently. I need to keep my eyes open to possibilities and combine what I see with a little creativity.


I spent some time looking at two articles this week about growing as a learner and as an educator. The first was The Mindset of an Innovator, by George Couros. This article was his personal reflection about who he is as an educator. He began and ended his reflection with one statement that resonated with me,

“I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners”.  With this empathetic approach, I will create and design learning experiences with that question as a starting point.”

This is what I want to be as an educator. I desire to lead my classroom in such a way that my decisions in lesson planning and presenting instruction meet the needs of my students.

This is where innovation steps in. I must be continually seeking fresh ways to address the needs of my students. I must be aware of what other educators are doing to utilize technology in their classrooms. I should continue to read the books and blogs of educators who are helping students make great strides in their learning. I can research what teachers are doing to continue their own education.

I believe that I must do both of the above things: focus on the needs of students, and continue to learn. Keeping the needs of my students in mind while learning about what others do in their classroom allows me to be reflecting on how I could incorporate new practices or ideas into my teaching.


Learn Unlearn Relearn

Photo CC – by Giulia Forsythe

The second article I read was by Will Richardson, The Steep Unlearning Curve. The premise of his article was that we have perceptions in education that are no longer accurate. The internet has changed how we view information and learning. It has changed how we interact with others.

The statement that struck me the most while reading Richardson’s article was, “We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.”

This statement made an impact because I both agree and disagree with it. Maybe he is thinking about older students, but as a future elementary teacher, I see the need for a solid foundation to be laid in the core subjects.  All my students will need to know how to write, read, have a functioning knowledge of mathematics, and the natural and social sciences.

I do agree with the premise that students need to direct their own learning, after they have a foundation to build on.  Each student needs to learn what their strengths are.  They need to learn how to utilize technology so they can seek out information.  Students need to be taught metacognitive strategies so that they can process information that they are taking in.  They need to learn how to self-direct their own learning.

I think that this is where innovation meets unlearning for me as a teacher.  I will need to lay that foundation while teaching students how to direct their learning.  I see this as an exciting challenge.


This semester I have taken in a great deal of information about digital literacy.  I have used technology in new ways, I have found new programs that I enjoy using, and I have been challenged to think about how the field of education functions as a launching point for student interest and growth.

What do I still need to unlearn or learn?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I do know that experience will teach me what I still need to learn, and this semester I have learned where to go and how to find the information that will fill the gaps that will become apparent in the classroom.


Photo CC – by Missy Schmidt

. . .

Both of these articles are about learning to see possibilities, and the ability to change our mindset. I have seen that I need to continually evaluate myself as a learner and teacher so that I can be a better teacher.

Because this is the key to innovation. It is not change for the sake of change. It is change for sake of improvement.


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