I've been reading a book by George Couros called "The Innovator's Mindset." It has really helped stimulate and challenge my thinking on how to move forward with shaping a shared vision for Altona. He discusses 8 Characteristics of the Innovator's Mindset. The first characteristic he discusses is empathy. As educators, we strive to provide the best possible learning experience for our students. A key question he asks educators is:
Would you want to be a learner in your own classroom? For me, I ask: would I want to be a learner at Altona? My hope is that all learners would answer absolutely, but I know this is a question we need to keep at the forefront for our vision as we move forward with defining what innovation looks like at Altona.
Another characteristic George discusses is creating problem finders. I like his twist on the traditional skill we seek to instill in our learners regarding problem solving. It is critical that we teach students to self start and evaluate their own learning. As educators, it is important that we step aside at times and guide student's learning. I believe we can accomplish this by providing choices and opportunities for reflection. Recently, our leadership team visited Blue Mountain Elementary to learn more about their Genius Hour. This time dedicated for students to explore passion projects while using a design thinking model provides an outlet for students to become problem finders and solvers. I'm excited for our staff to figure out ways we can build this type of experience into our school regularly.
The other characteristics discussed are risk-taking, networking, observing, reflecting, creating, and resiliency. One of the reasons I'm writing this post is to begin a more regularly time for myself to reflect on what I'm thinking about. I hope that as I move forward as the principal of Altona that I continue to focus on building relationships so that people trust in each other enough to feel comfortable taking risks. I hope this will allow for our community to develop the Innovator Mindset.