Teaching is the mother of innovation.

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Promote Innovation Through Education, IStockPhoto.com

It’s often said, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Although this statement is true, I firmly believe the teaching profession, itself, creates several “necessity” moments. Since teachers use their creativity, on a daily basis, they’re definitely “innovative” people. As a result, I often wonder why teachers aren’t the world’s best inventors?

In my professional opinion, the “mother of all necessities” in education is classroom management. Every teacher appreciates the need for developing strong classroom management techniques. In fact, as a former colleague of mine once said, “students cannot learn in chaos.” That’s why I consider classroom management a prerequisite for every, and any, highly effective classroom.

During the school year, teachers invent gimmicks and techniques to “trick” their students into “behaving.” I often refer to this as using “teacher diplomacy.” Yet, rather than inventing classroom management programs or tools, we often spend time “googling” for ready-made strategies. Given this “necessity,” why aren’t teachers creating prototypes based on proven, effective best practices? Why aren’t teachers harnessing their creativity?

With that said, education innovation is, by no means, exclusive to classroom management practices. In fact, almost every aspect of teaching can benefit. For example, in my personal experience, every teacher dreads delivering the infamous “boring” lesson. As a result, teachers spend countless hours designing standards-aligned “hands-on” activities. During this creative design process, teachers experience several “aha” moments throughout the school year. Although these moments occur frequently, the outcomes often go unnoticed.

While there are various web-based programs teachers can use to gain ideas and lesson plans, these resources aren’t available for every lesson or content-domain. Teachers, by and large, still rely on “good ole’ fashion” creativity. Rather than stifle this timeless practice, teachers should embrace, and learn to leverage, technological tools. As a profession, we don’t have the luxury of chastising education innovation. Frankly speaking, it’s discouraging when teachers complain about innovation, as if “innovation” is synonymous with a four-letter word. In my opinion, teachers need to take the lead within the world of education innovation.

Why?

Well, why not?

Who, possibly, can “out-innovate” a teacher?

In the words of the San Francisco 49ers, “NOOOBODY!!”

So, again, why aren’t teachers leading the charge in education innovation? Since teachers already innovate, on a daily basis, why not harness this creative power? Not a day goes by without some teacher tapping into their creative skills to modify, or invent, a lesson activity. Therefore, I truly believe that if “necessity is the mother of invention,” then teaching is the “mother of innovation.” Now, teachers just need to embrace this reality, and start leading the innovative charge in education.

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