Vision, space, and passion

Creating space and routines to allow for collaboration between students, parents, and teachers outside of grade levels or schools.

Photo of Marjorie Rehlander
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Creating a common vision about how all students can experience innovation is important to growing a culture.  Many students may achieve this level of thinking naturally, but others may struggle for very different reason.   In a survey of over 400 students,  6th through 9th graders described their problem solving style.  Only 18 percent of the students survey described perseverance (keep trying until I get it) as their problem solving style.  28 percent of student described optimism (I can usually solve it on my own) as their problem style.  Most surprisingly 42 percent of students described a more passive problem solving style of asking for help.  10.5 percent of students identifying negative problem solving skills of ignoring or letting someone else solve it.    In order to develop a culture of innovation students, parents, and teacher must have an active problem solving style seen in ideals of perseverance and optimism. 

Not only understanding individually what someone‚Äôs obstacles in their community, family, or individually may be, but having opportunities to see different types of problem solving is important to the cultivation of innovation.  Creating an open space for students, parents, teachers to receive and give feedback to continue to grow and work through challenges will be important for everyone to develop these 21st century skills.

Creating an open space that allows for students of multiple grade levels to interact with each other, experience mentoring or mentorships, and develop leadership, active problem solving, and collaboration skills.  Providing a safe, open space to combine teachers, parents, and students will help to promote the understanding of different perspectives around a great idea and passion.  Being able to facilitating important topics of interest to these different groups, and understanding community needs will be important in developing relationships that will be needed to grow participation.


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Photo of Emma Scripps

Hey Majorie,

So much of what you're describing here is about cultivating students' self-awareness and how that relates to creating an innovative culture in classrooms. For example - if a student knows they approach problems with a sense of optimism - they know they have that asset to share when they need to think through something new or challenging with a team or on their own.

Your post clearly lays out that as a condition. What'd I'd love to see is you develop a bit more of a strategy or plan around this. What are the steps you as a teacher take to build this open/self-aware classroom environment? It looks like you started with some surveys - how does it build?

Photo of Marjorie Rehlander

I think that we would have to develop a curriculum of topics; important questions, that students, parents, and teachers could offer their perspectives on. I think this can be done in a classroom through projects or school wide. We are most interested in how this self awareness impacts students' success during transitions (6th, and 9th grade), so finding a platform (online or in person) to connect these groups with structured relevant topics. I think this will model proactive problem solving skills, understand different perspectives, and develop relationships needed to overcome difficulty. Really the topics are endless, if the social environment is nurtured to connect these unlikely groups in a format that is not traditional "pd", or psycho-education, but magnify the similarities and strengths that each perspective brings to the group.

So some topic ideas that would be relevant may include:
Is tutoring an intervention?
Do grades matter?
Thinking/problem solving styles
Communication (school/family)
What is engagement
Top ten things every 9th grader knows

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