The wheel of educational innovation

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Adapted from the original article by Laurie Couture of the École branchée, written in an attitude of pedagogical advice, from a school management perspective.

By Marie-Josée Villeneuve, Director of Innovation and Educational Support at the CSS des-Rives-du-Saguenay,

Innovation is about successfully implementing a new idea and creating value. Creativity is not synonymous with innovation. Creativity is coming up with a new idea. Innovation is about taking that innovative idea, engaging in a problem-solving process and creating added value.

Innovation in the school environment serves to prepare students for the jobs and challenges of tomorrow. Innovation is then in the service of learning. There is more and more talk of pedagogical innovation in schools. Rethink our way of doing things to provide students with a stimulating educational environment.

What is the role of each stakeholder in this process? And what about the school management, who is in charge of this novelty? With innovation, we are always navigating change, while the critical mass of individuals is usually camping in their comfort zone. So the challenge is always the process of change. For management it is certainly a matter of taking strong pedagogical leadership and accelerating: the wheel of innovation.

Innovating is doing things differently, daring to change things to offer something new, something that has never been seen before in a specific context. In a school context, innovation is different for every direction or environment: no one is at the same point on the long road that leads to new skills or competences in the person or team engaged in it.

First step: open the door

Opening the door literally means letting specialists and colleagues into the school (physically or otherwise) so that they can witness what is happening there. However, before we open the door, we must open the door of our head, the one that lets in new ideas, the one that puts us in a vulnerable position.

Vulnerability is not approached here in a pejorative sense, but in a sense of open-mindedness and progression. Opening the door to our professional development puts us in the position of an apprentice. Sometimes uncomfortable at first, we should not underestimate the importance of daring to push our boundaries and those of our team. These, in turn, will be ingenious and surprising.

Second step: continue on this road

After opening and collecting feedback and ideas, stay involved. The start of the innovation process is the time to test, start over and move forward in what you want to implement. This is what it all comes down to! We may encounter a number of obstacles. We will have to stay in solution mode to avoid falling back into our slippers.

With our team, we will have to appreciate those who show courage and perseverance. Very early in the process it will be important to demonstrate the positive effects on our students, thus feeding the belt. With digital a large number of remote resources available, we can continue our progress towards innovation using online self-training platforms, videos, articles, blogs, etc.

Third step: radiate

With colleagues, on our school’s social networks and our school service center, it is important to promote the results of the educational reform process. And to publicize our innovative projects. Why? To infect others!

After seeing the success of the approach, other managers will probably decide to try the same. How? By publishing the documents created, testifying to the process, proposing projects and ideas, and telling colleagues about the experience.

Where? Wherever you will be comfortable. This is how the wheel works: the aura of some will open the door to others. The world of education could become a huge wheel of sharing, innovative development and benevolence. Let’s innovate!

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