How do you measure the impact of innovation in the classroom? I don't believe innovation is something that can be measured on a standard test. Innovation requires moving forward from a Point A, where a student starts their knowledge and understanding, to a Point B, that place in the distance, in the general direction of where the student is heading. The goal is for the student/learner to see that growth has been made and will continue to be made. Let me elaborate on what I mean.
In the learning process, we all begin at our own point A. Call it your starting point. Depending on the topic, content area, and interest level of the student, this point will be in different places for different students. However, each point A represents where students are in a particular point in time. Point B is somewhere off in the distance. It sets the direction toward where you want your learning to go. Many factors will influence a student's ability to head in that direction, toward Point B: resiliency of the student, interest in the area of learning, passion of the teacher, sense of empowerment over their own learning, life stresses, and many more. This means that the learning journey a student embarks upon will rarely be a straight line. Rarely will it be the case that answering one question is the end-all of their learning on the topic. Most often answering one question will lead to the asking of another and the process continues with a new point A and a point B that might be closer, further away, or in a different direction all together.
How do we know if we are headed in the right direction? I believe what makes this possible is curiosity. It is wonder. It is I care enough to want to know more. It is when there are more questions than there are answers. It is I have a desire to cure my ignorance and add to my understanding of the world around me. It is wanting to innovate; to make something new and better. Vicki Den Ouden in her blog post, Curious George, explores the etymology of the word "curious." At it's roots it means to both care and cure. Vicki describes how this applies to teachers, "To be curious then is to care about what and how we teach and learn, and to care about the learning of our students. In addition to that, it means to cure or to remedy. Cure who? From what? Perhaps it means to cure ourselves and our students of boredom, apathy, or the dislike of school systems and to find a remedy for the drudgery of schedules, homework, worksheets, committees, marking, detentions, and so on."
Note: Post originally appeared on my old blog site on 3/30/17