Critical Questions for Educators
- Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?
- What is best for this student?
- What is this student’s passion?
- What are some ways we can create a true learning community?
- How did this work for our students?
(from The Innovator’s Mindset written by George Couros.)
These questions are essential to understanding our learners because they requires us, as educators, to put the focus on the learners and reflect on our practices and the community we are building. When we ask these questions we are looking at the unique needs of our individual learners as well as our response to those needs and requires us to assess whether or not we are meeting those needs.
If I would add a question to this list, it would be, “What is the next step I can take to improve the learning experience for my students?” I chose “next step” because I want a specific and actionable task that I can implement right away. Otherwise, I might have lots of great complicated ideas that require significant change, but those are less likely to realistically occur because of the effort required to make those changes.
People with The Innovator’s Mindset are empathetic, problem finders/solvers, risk takers, networked, observant, creators, resilient, and reflective. I do see myself as having many of these characteristics. Six years ago, I saw a need in the local homeschooling community that I am a part of and began a homeschooling collaborative that has met weekly during the school year since that time. I took a risk and created something new. We began with 12 families and 30 children and have since grown to 23 families and 62 students. There have been challenges and setbacks along the way, but I have pushed forward through those difficulties. In order to see this group flourish and grow, I have had to be reflective along the way, seeing problems and finding solutions before they turned into bigger issues. These qualities will help me to continue to be an innovator as I transition from being a home educator to becoming a certified teacher.
Image credit: Sketch note by Sylvia Duckworth, content by George Couros, Innovator’s Mindset author.