In a recent post, I tried to pin down a definition for pedagogical innovation and ended up with the following (Thanks Steve Wheeler and Scott Berkun).
“Pedagogical innovation is significant positive change to the way that we lead people to a place where they can learn for themselves.”
How does a school grow a culture of pedagogical innovation? I have been exploring this topic for a number of years and have come across a large portfolio of research. According to a report by Futurelab.org called Promoting transformative innovation in schools, “a culture of innovation is built upon cycles of insight, invention, application, reflection and communication“. In his Leading Innovation blog series, George Couros lists “Create, Innovate and Voice” as the key steps to achieving significant positive change. The interesting thing from most of the models or cycles that I have read about and researched is the notion of community voice and reflection. In the Futurelab report, the following paragraph on reflection and communication jumped out at me:
Effective social and support networks need to be established to foster continued innovative practice. New ideas and opportunities may then be identified to begin the next cycle of innovation. This is a stage when the models of communication and networking are critical to ensure that innovations are diffused throughout the system – they are presented here as a joint activity as the reflections must be shared, just as much as the activity and aims.
All schools have pockets or clusters of innovation. The challenge is the sustainable growth of this culture and this can be done by growing the conversation. Ask yourself the following, how are you made aware of innovative practice in your school? Do you have open platforms to share? Are you encouraged to reflect professionally? Too often, time pressures and other responsibilities can eat into this valuable phase. In my role at Ivanhoe, I am constantly blown away by amazing teaching and learning practices in the classrooms that I visit. The challenging element is finding the medium or conduit to share this with the rest of the school. In a bid to grow the effective social and support network needed to foster innovation and to promote professional dialogue and reflection, we have launched a communal blog called IvanhoeLearn. This blog is designed to introduce and promote blogging as a professional reflective process and to connect stories within our school and outside of our school. It is a lens into the classroom and I hope it leads to many to beginning blogs of their own. So far we have seven staff who have shared and I hope that with the encouragement of my amazing PLN, we can encourage more to share.
The following link is the first post written for IvanhoeLearn and will give you a little more insight into our inspiration.
Thanks for reading.