The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Reward Innovators with Responsibility

A problem with education is that we have too many "best practices" and not enough innovation. Once you establish a procedure as a best practice there’s no room for argument about whether or not it works. We should call it a "current practice" instead. Now we have the freedom to explore this practice and confirm whether or not it is actually working, and find new innovations in education.

We need to encourage more innovation in education and explore a wider range of what is possible. People need to be rewarded for their innovation by being given the responsibility to implement it, provided that they can show solid evidence that it works for other educators too. We need more peer review of what we do as educators.

Imagine a teacher has an idea for improvement in their teaching. They try it in their classroom, bounce the idea off of a friend and collect evidence that it works. They convince a colleague to do the same, and show that whatever it they are doing differently works for both teachers. They submit their idea to a peer review panel, which then would make recommendations on what ideas have wider merit. The teacher who had the original idea would then be given the responsibility and the authority to try out their idea with a wider group of students or teachers. Teachers would be rewarded for innovation with the responsibility to see their idea through, and spreading it to other schools where it could also work.

We would end up with a lot of benefits from this system. First, the amount of collaboration between educators would increase. Next, school improvement ideas would spread out of the school in which they are initially implemented. There would be encouragement to share one’s ideas rather than jealously guard them. Furthermore, educators would be encouraged to innovate. It would lead to improvements in education by greatly increasing the pool of talent to produce possible innovations. So many educators come up with awesome ideas that never make it past the door of their classroom.

Let’s turn our system which just uses "best practices" as determined into researchers into one which includes innovations from educators in the field.