Growing Up Teaching: From Personal Knowledge to Professional Practice Edition 1

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If it does not, education will stagnate and produce mediocre outcomes. An example of negative socio-cultural impact on education is mercantilism, which is destroying the ultimate purpose of education, and consumerism which is degrading institutions of higher education Feeman and Thomas, ; Ng and Forbes, ; Abeyta, Other harmful social and cultural trends exert a powerful influence. These include monetization of education, entitlement, instant gratification, and egotism, which destroy education in general and the development of creativity and innovative spirit of students in particular Kerby et al.

Such grave societal issues must be dealt with forcefully. Second, it is well known that higher education has been historically slow to adopt innovations for various reasons Hoffman and Holzhuter, ; Marcus, ; Evans, Because it is complex due to cohesion and contuinuity of science and labor intensive, higher education is particularly difficult to make more productive Brewer and Tierney, Both secondary and higher education function as two separate and rather closed systems in their own rights. They are not only loosely connected to the wider world but also suffer from a wide disconnect between high school output measured in graduate learning outcomes and college entrance student expectations.

Innovation, whether it is with technology, assessment or instruction, requires time and space for experimentation and a high tolerance for uncertainty. Disruption of established patterns is the modus operandi of innovation. Innovation is difficult to spread across school and academia because it disrupts the established routine and pushes implementers out of their comfort zone. Supporting something seen as secondary innovation in the face of pressure, far-reaching programs, external standards ranging from Common Core to Literacy, Technology, and Career Readiness becomes a matter of priority and job security.

In many instances, innovation in educational institutions does not take priority over pressing routine issues — really, abiding by the state standards is more urgent.


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Teachers and school administrators are commonly cautious about a threatening change and have little tolerance for the uncertainty that any major innovation causes. Of course there are schools and even districts that are unafraid to innovate and experiment but their success depends on individual leaders and communities of educators who are able to create an innovative professional culture. Pockets of innovation give hope but we need a total, massive support for innovations across society.

It was used by standardized testing companies to reap huge profits or, may be, vice versa, these companies influenced NCBL. The trend stifled true education and produced unsatisfactory learning outcomes that changed the nature of teaching, narrowing the curriculum and limiting student learning. Fourth, even when an innovation comes to life, it is of little worth without implementation Csikszentmihalyi, Innovation is not about talking the talk but walking the walk. Moreover, an innovation can make a significant difference only when it is used on a wide scale.

To create innovations is not enough, they need to be spread and used across schools and universities, a more difficult task. For the innovation to make a sizable effect, we need an army of implementers together with favorable conditions for the invention to spread and produce a result. Implementers in turn have to be creative and motivated to do their job; they must also have freedom to innovate in the implementation, security on the job to take risks, and control of what they are doing. Ultimately, they need be trusted as are teachers in Finland to do their job right.

Is this where one of the main problems of innovating lies?

This is clearly an extension of the adaptive or differentiated approach to teaching and learning, thereby leading to customization of education Schuwer and Kusters, When we began to be more concerned about how students feel in the classroom, what bothers them, and how best to accommodate them to make their learning experiences superior and anxiety-free, we began to set aside the quality outcomes of the learning process. Every cloud has a silver lining, fortunately.

When market approach is applied to higher education, as it is in the current national and global competitive environment, the contest for enrollments increases and forces colleges to decrease attrition in all ways possible. This requires innovative approaches. The institutions that depend on enrollment for their revenue appear more willing to innovate than traditional, public universities that enjoy government support. Clearly, private institutions are more adept at innovating than public ones.

The market is a powerful factor, however, the changes it may bring have to be tackled cautiously. The hurdles to technology integration are described by Peggy Ertmer as external first-order and internal second-order barriers. The first-order barriers are purely operational technological , while the second-order barriers are applicational pedagogical.

The difference in approaches to applying technology to teaching and learning overcoming technological vs pedagogical barriers might explain why huge investments in ET have brought little if any effect to the quality of learning outcomes. Last but not least, innovations grow in a favorable environment, which is cultivated by an educational system that promotes innovation at all levels and produces creative, critical thinking, self-sufficient, life-long learners, problem solvers, and workers.

This system enjoys a stimulating research climate, encourages uplifting cultural attitudes toward education, and rallies massive societal support. The ultimate question is, what innovations do we really need, and what innovations might we not need? The Finnish example can teach us a good lesson. Pasi Sahlberg identifies a set of reforms popular in many countries that Finland has not adopted, including: standardization of curriculum enforced by frequent external tests;. Instead, the Finns went their own, the Finnish Way, so profoundly described by Pasi Sahlberg in his bestselling book Sahlberg, So would it be innovative not to adopt some reforms?

A big question now arises, what is then the American way to build innovative education?

Research and Theory

And what would be the global way? To create innovations, we need innovators, and many of them.

But though innovation is often a spark originated in the mind of a bright person, it needs an environment that can nourish the fire. This environment is formed and fed by educational institutions, societal culture, and advanced economy. Csikszentmihalyi underlines the importance of creating a stimulating macroenvironment, which integrates the social, cultural, and institutional context, and also microenvironment, the immediate setting in which a person works.

Then, when the invention is created, it must fall into a fertile ground like a seed and be cultivated to grow and bring fruit.

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The audience is not only the educators but also students, parents, policy makers, and all other members of society who act either as implementers or consumers of the innovation. Coherent systemic support is essential for growing innovations. Technology integration in education can be successful only when the human element is taken into consideration. This then integrates innovators, implementers, educational leadership, professional community and, certainly, the learners.

When we try to innovate education, we often leave students out of the equation. Yet, we try everything we can to improve teaching delivery , while what we actually need is to improve learning. In education, nothing works if the students do not. According to the famous Bulgarian scholar Georgi Lozanov , learning is a matter of attitude, not aptitude. This is where the greatest potential for improving education lies. To help develop new survival skills, effective communication and critical thinking skills, and nurture curious, creative, critical thinking, independent and self-directed entrepreneurs, we must disrupt the ways of our school system and the ways our teachers are prepared.

Teacher education and professional development are definitely one of the primary areas that call for innovative approaches: teachers must be taught to teach well Marcus, Students are much more likely to learn to solve real-world problems and collaborate productively with their peers, for example, if their learning activities are carefully designed to offer opportunities for them to do these things.

Teacher social status is one of the determining factors of the teacher quality. It reflects the quality of teaching and learning and also the level of pedagogic innovations. In our drive to enhance educational innovation, empowering school teachers and college instructors may be the most important task. What kind of people do we consider teachers? How do we elevate teachers in society? Research focusing on raising productivity and efficiency and improving the quality of learning has to increase in all critical areas of education.

Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum

One crucial indicator of educational effectiveness is measuring the quality of learning that remains imperfect. Developing clear and effective measures of educational quality is an important venue for future innovative research. Societal support for innovative education and building up a new culture of educational preeminence both inside the education system and around it is paramount for its success.

Brunner suggests viewing education in a broader context of what society intends to accomplish through its educational investment in the young. The best way to achieve superior education is to shape a new educational culture. Innovation can be presented as a model in the context of its effects on the quality of teaching and learning within an educational environment, which is permeated by professional and societal cultures Figure 1.

Therefore, innovations in education focus primarily on technology and technology applications. Technocentrists want to see education more automated, more technology-enhanced, and more technology-controlled in the hope of making education more effective. While we realize there is no stopping the technological revolution, we educators must do all we can to preserve the primary mission of education, which is reflected in a humanistic approach that caters to the whole person wherein efforts are made to develop a free, independent, critical thinking, active, and effective thinker, doer, citizen, and worker.

Original Research

Along with developing our own innovations and creating a broad base for implementation, it might be useful to look outside the box. As the world becomes more and more globalized, national education systems are shedding their uniqueness and gaining a more universal, homogeneous look e. The rich international educational palette offers unique solutions to many issues facing US schools and universities. What attractive innovative approaches exist in the world that could be applied to the US education system?

In Finland, a new ecosystem for learning was created Niemi et al. Singapore, for one, has become one of the top-scoring countries on the PISA tests by cultivating strong school leadership, committing to ongoing professional development, and exploring innovative models, like its tech-infused Future Schools EDUTOPIA, b. In Shanghai, China, every low-performing school is assigned a team of master teachers and administrators to provide weekly guidance and mentorship on everything from lesson plans to school culture EDITOPIA, a.

The list of international innovations to cogitate is, fortunately, extensive. Is this what our educational innovators could do something about? This attribution is helpful to students because it tells them that intelligence is under their control.

In the Classroom

There are numerous exciting foreign examples for the US educators to learn from and innovate, implementing and adapting them to US schools. A right step in this direction is to integrate global education ideas into teacher preparation programs. The principal focus of this specialization is on advanced, innovative, and effective international approaches, ideas, and strategies in teaching and learning that address the needs of the nation and create contemporary school environments to accommodate diverse student populations.

Open Journal Systems

Focusing on the universal need for continuous improvement in teaching and learning, this specialization provides students with a balance of philosophy and theory, practice and application through collaborative research projects and field-based activities. An even more remarkable consequence has been a change to their national cultures. This provides a worthy example for other nations, including ours.