Adaptation of the original article by Laurie Couture of École branchée, written in a pedagogical mentoring posture, from a school leadership perspective.
By Marie-Josée Villeneuve, Director of Innovation and Pedagogical Support at the CSS des-Rives-du-Saguenay,
Innovation is about successfully implementing a new idea and creating value. Creativity is not the same as innovation. Creativity means coming up with a new idea. Innovation is taking that novel idea, engaging in a problem-solving process, and creating value.
Innovation in the school environment serves to prepare students for the professions and challenges of tomorrow. Innovation then becomes at the service of learning. More and more, we are talking about pedagogical innovation in schools. Rethinking the way we do things in order to offer students a stimulating educational environment.
What is the role of each stakeholder in this process? And what about the management of the institution, the one who manages the process of this novelty? With innovation, we are always navigating change, while the critical mass of individuals remains, most of the time, camped in its comfort zone. Thus, the challenge is always the process of change. For management, it is certainly a question of assuming strong pedagogical leadership and entering into a gear: the wheel of innovation.
Innovation means doing things differently, daring to change things to offer something new, something never seen before in a specific context. In a school context, innovation is different for each direction or environment: no one is at the same point on the long road that leads to new skills or competencies for the person or team that commits to it.
First step: open the door
In the literal sense, opening the door means letting specialists and colleagues into the school (physically or not) so that they can testify to what is being done there. However, before opening the door, we must open the door in our head, the one that lets in new ideas, the one that places us in a vulnerable position.
Vulnerability is not meant here in a pejorative sense, but in a sense of openness and progression. Opening the door to our professional development puts us in the position of a learner. Sometimes uncomfortable at first, we should not underestimate the importance of daring to push our limits and those of our team. They, in turn, will be ingenious and surprising.
Second step: continue on this path
After opening up and gathering feedback and ideas, continue to engage. The beginning of the innovation process is the time to test, try again and go further in what you want to implement. It is at this stage that everything is at stake! You may come up against a few obstacles. We must remain in solution mode to avoid falling back into our slippers.
With our team, we will have to value those who demonstrate courage and perseverance. Very early in the process, it will be important to demonstrate the positive impacts on our students, thus feeding the belt. With digital technology, a host of resources are available at a distance, we can continue our progress towards innovation using online self-training platforms, videos, articles, blogs, etc.
Third step: shine
It is important to share the results of the pedagogical innovation process with colleagues, on the social networks of our school and our school service center. And to make our innovative projects known. Why? To contaminate others!
After seeing the success of the approach, other managers will probably decide to try the same thing. How can they do this? By publishing the documents created, sharing the process, proposing projects and ideas and telling colleagues about the experience.
Wherever you feel comfortable. This is how the wheel works: the influence of some will open the door to others. The world of education can become a huge wheel of sharing, innovative development and caring. Let's innovate!