Summer Reading: The Innovator’s Mindset by George Cuoros
Summer PD Goals
This summer, I decided to focus my PD on two goals:
- writing about elementary & middle school edtech topics, and
- firing up the old Kindle app for some summer reading.
This means carving out a bit of time from the summer schedule. I get up early most mornings to do some writing. The words seem to flow better as the coffee kicks in and things are quiet. The rest of the day is a collection of moments when I can dive into a good book. The key to success? Ebooks. While I love paper and turning a page – heck, this past Latin teacher loves scrolls and rolling the page! – I find it so much easier to read and take notes on my phone or iPad. And it keeps my bag a bit lighter at M’s swim lessons and family beach visits.
My students and their families were wonderfully generous this year, and I have put my shiny new Amazon gift cards to good use! One of the books that has been a particularly good read is George Cuoros’ The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. It is full of useful resources, easy-to-implement tools, and thoughtful anecdotes from decades of education leadership.
#InnovatorsMindset: Unleash Their Talent
The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity is a must-read for any educator. It provides deep thinking on what it means to truly establish innovative practices in schools, and discusses the successes and stumbling blocks that Cuoros has celebrated over the years. As I move from the classroom to faculty coaching, I was particularly inspired by Cuoros’ thoughts on encouraging an innovative mindset among colleagues. A favorite quote:
“As leaders in education,
our job is not to control those whom we serve
but to unleash their talent.”
My goal is always to let the students shine. The most important method in our classroom was student choice. I rarely gave assignments that didn’t allow for some choice. This is easy in projects, where there are many variables at play. But even on our final exam, students had options in passage translations and long responses. When students are given choices, they naturally attach their passions to their studies and this association develops a lifelong skill in learning. As Cuoros explained, educators should encourage students to develop a sense of purpose in their learning.
An unachieved student choice goal from my classroom years? Allowing students to choose their final assessment, whether a project or final exam or something in between. Administration required written exams, so I didn’t reach that goal – but now that I can help other teachers, I hope that student choice is a part of our conversations this year! Teachers are incredibly talented at helping students find their passions in their studies and transform the learning experience. How can I support teachers in unleashing that talent?
#InnovatorsMindset: “Time spent with others is an investment.”
Cuoros also describes each moment spent with a colleague as an investment. I love this piece of #innovatorsmindset. It made me more comfortable in how I approach PD with my colleagues.
Longterm relationships will make for much stronger and longer-lasting change in our approach towards learning. A group PD training, or a 1:1 session are not aimed at immediate results, but rather the building of a relationship and skills that will build an innovative learning environment. You do not have to take on the world to change the world.
#InnovatorsMindset: “I reflect, therefore I learn.”
The book also provides an excellent reminder of the importance of reflection, both among students and teachers. I was, of course, excited to read more about digital portfolios, and add some of Cuoros’ resources to my digital portfolio toolbox for next year.
Read about how we approached
Digital Portfolios in Grades VI & VII & Math Portfolios
The combination of reflection and an authentic audience is invaluable. And Cuoros reminds us that there are authentic audiences everywhere – so as you read Cuoros’ The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, make sure to hop on Twitter and follow #innovatorsmindset. There is a wonderful community of educators thinking about innovation in education this summer!
Want to learn more about building your own PLN? Check out: What’s Your PLN?
Don't miss my next post!
Enter your email to have my next post delivered right to your inbox.