The concluding part II of the The Innovator's Mindset presents the reader with some really thought-provoking What if questions. One of these that really had me thinking was "What if we hired people who did not look at teaching as a "career" but as a "passion"? As I read this question, I immediately began to think of what my school could look like if that was one of the top questions on the minds of those involved in the hiring process. I imagine students going from class to class excited, engaged and ready to learn. When you think of teaching as your "job", it definitely comes across to the students that way. Teachers who are just going through the motions, teaching on autopilot one ditto at a time are really doing our students a disservice. When you are passionate about what you do, it's easier to inspire others. I think it communicates that you not only are knowledgeable in your subject area and enjoy it, but you also have a need to share it with your students, which in turns sends a message to them that you are invested in them.
A second question that resonated with me was "What if we empowered students to make a difference in the world today and in the future?" It has become increasingly apparent to me that when you set the tone to ensure a safe classroom environment where students feel comfortable sharing without fear and are treated with mutual respect, it will serve them in all aspects of their lives. If fostered from the early grades and reinforced throughout their academic career, I believe it creates an atmosphere where real learning can take place.
One last note on this What if concept. Last year, I read Warren Berger's A More Beautiful Question and this reminded me of how questioning can be one of the most important tools for creating innovators. In his book, he says that there are three steps in questioning, Why? What if? How? I think these could easily be applied to education and to an innovator's mindset.
So, I offer this scenario:
Why are our schools failing our students?
What if we could change this?
How could we use our innovator's mindset to do so?