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How To Be An Innovative Educator

February 24th 2020

 It's a pivotal time in education. For hundreds of years students have sat in classes having knowledge imparted to them by teachers. Now, from high school, often earlier, virtually every student carries a device from which they can find out pretty much anything in a matter of seconds. 

The challenge for educators is the same as it has always been; to equip their students with the skills they need to enter the workforce and live a good life. Today, one specific challenge for educators is to work out how new technology can help them improve the way they teach, and what the best mix of new and old teaching methods is. 

Now more than ever, it's important not to assume that just because you did something one way in 2019 and it worked, that that is necessarily the best way of doing it in 2020. 

Keep innovating! Here are 3 strategies that might help.

Question Everything

Now, more than ever, it's a good idea to regularly step back from what you do and ask if it possible there may be a better way of doing things. Examine every part of what you do. For example, you could ask;
Why am I teaching this unit this way?
Why am I setting this exercise?
They are doing this exercise individually, but should it be done in groups? Or vice versa.
Are we using online resources enough? Are we using them too much?

Get Feedback

Be brave enough to find out what students think of the way you teach them. The most underused resource in education is student feedback. Companies all over the world are crying out for customer feedback, begging us to fill in surveys, and using what we tell them to improve the ways they do things. Educators have access to as much feedback as they want, but rarely access it.

Ask students when they are engaged, when they are bored, when they feel they learnt a lot, and when they don't. You don't have to slavishly do what they want, but their answers may well point toward methods to teach them more effectively.

Do What You Can Do

The education sector is huge. Every institution, public or private, has significant hierarchy and bureaucracy, and each educator has to adhere to standards and syllabus. Despite that, every educator has a degree of freedom in how they treat and teach their students. If you think there might be a better way of doing things, do you need to convince the entire organisation to implement it? Or do you have enough freedom tot try it in your own class and see if it works? Work out how much freedom you have, and use it. If you try a new method and it works, gather evidence that it worked and share your results.
Keep being innovative. It's interesting, it's fun and it's good for students.

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How To Be An Innovative Educator
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