Navigate the Intersections

As someone in charge of thinking and helping implement academic innovation in my school, I strive to promote innovation in the classroom. Our ultimate goal is to deliver new and better learning experiences to our students. We need to trace back from that goal and think about how we will engage and prepare our teachers to become innovators in the classroom.

Scott Thornburry, in his plenary is this year’s IATEFL Conference in Birmingham, UK, traced the entire history of TEFL methodology, and it is quite amazing to see we have come a long way to today’s Communicative Approach, which is the contemporary synthesis of the pedagogical elements that have historically worked best from all previous approaches tried out in our field. Towards the end of his talk, he acknowledged the need, our need to rethink our practice in today’s hyper connected, hyper technological world. Our learners have changed, especially the younger generations. The same old coursebook, whiteboard, powerpoint-centered approach to teaching is crumbling down. Educational Technology is a field which more and more teachers need to embrace.

That being said, there is no miracle solution, or miracle app or platform or mobile device. Let’s face it: we need to look at the ways we teachers are owning EdTech, the ways we are blending it in our practice, and we need to do that without ever losing sight of the ultimate goal of providing successful and engaging learning experiences. And that is not to mention the low quality of learner engagement we see in the classroom as a result of the maintenance of the same interaction patterns, and a teacher-centered approach. The fact is that learners are disengaged. Professor Thornburry’s suggestion was that we TEFL people look for intersections in the field of Education. What might we learn from the most innovative K-12 schools around the globe? What are other learning spaces doing to engage people in meaningful learning experiences? And most importantly, how might we engender a mindset of openness and curiosity in our educational leaders, our teachers, and our students?

In module 2 of Leading Innovation, professor Bob Sutton has asked us to think about things we could do and the ways in which we could create or find an “intersection” in which we could share our ideas and be exposed to new ideas. To that effect, we were exposed to a myriad of great resources, such as the BBC Horizon episode on Fermat’s Last Theorem, which I have watched in its entirety and found very moving, the Medici Effect, a book by Frans Johansson, which I am currently engaged in reading and am finding quite stimulating, a few inspiring interviews with Perry Klebahn, Diego Rodriguez, and Mauria Finley, and more. 

Enter Diego Rodriguez and the 21 Principles for Innovation

I was blown away by Diego Rodriguez’s Metacool blog, particularly his posts on the Principles of Innovation. I have decided to explore seven of those principles, turning them into intersections between Education and Design. Click here to read my posts on the seven EdDesign Intersections.


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