Innovation in Teaching

My Burning Question

There is nothing worse than attending a workshop, class, or professional development opportunity and leaving disappointed. That feeling when you’ve paid your money and haven’t learned anything. On the contrary, perhaps the session/class was boring and uninteresting, therefore you lost interest and didn’t absorb the information properly.

As someone who is planning on teaching in the college system, I am sensitive to the fact that I will be educating students who are paying to be there. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from students that they “didn’t learn anything” from their college professor or that their “class was a joke.” I had my ups and downs with my own educational experiences and classes, and therefore I strive to be an innovative educator that motivates my students to learn.

The question is…how?

How do we keep our teaching innovative and creative? How do stay relevant and create programming that follows curriculum, teaches students the necessary skills and engages them with the material? This is what I hope to explore during the PME 811 course. I want to engage with fellow classmates and find out how they have stayed innovative and creative, and what innovation means to them too.

I am lucky to be surrounded by educators from all over the world, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. I hope that by collaborating and sharing our experiences, personal and professional, that I can begin to formulate my instructing future. 

5 thoughts on “My Burning Question

  1. Hi Erica,
    It sounds like you’re already on the path to finding an answer to your question about how to keep teaching with innovation and creativity…collaboration! 🙂 Collaboration is so important in the teaching profession. So often, I see teachers doing their own thing, staying in their rooms and working on their lessons in solitude. I can’t see how that helps to keep their teaching or their lessons fresh and innovative. I think the key is collaborating with other teachers. Talking about ways to make lessons valuable and interesting to the students would lead to planning lessons that reflect those qualities. I never considered myself to be very creative, but other teachers around me seemed to be! I had a good idea here and there, and when I did, I shared it. The action was not always reciprocated, though. It was as if the other teachers (not all, but certainly more than one or two who I worked with) were in competition with…well, other teachers! It was very strange to work in that environment – especially when the word ‘collaboration’ is so prevalent in the field of teaching. Here’s to more collaboration, for the sake of creativity in teaching!

    1. Hi Tara,

      Thank you so much for your response – and my apologies on the delay in getting back to you! Responses have been a combination of on the blog and on OnQ and I got a bit lost…

      I think you make a great point about collaboration! I’m curious to know what grade/subject you teach? One of the things I’m interested to know more about teacher’s views on conferences and other professional development opportunities. I feel like in a lot of colleges/universities departments become a lot more siloed in their expertise, and in smaller colleges, the faculties may be incredibly small (making it difficult to collaborate). How would you suggest bridging those gaps? Finding outside relationships/mentors, etc? Have you had any experience with this sort of thing?

      Thanks for your response! I hope to hear from you again soon! 🙂

  2. It’s a relevant question to ask, Erica. The students who are coming to you fresh out of high school may not know what to expect, but will certainly be informed by both highly traditional classroom experiences and non-traditional, self-directed learning, and therefore hold mixed preconceptions about what post-secondary classes should be like. Plus, they’ll be someone vulnerable to what their older peers are telling them . . .

    I love reading college students’ observations of their classes on Twitter — the good as well as the not-so-good. There, students tend to be frank about what they enjoy and find useful, such as that professor who starts every class like a rock star, or the other who adamantly refuses to allow pomegranates in her room, or another who is ready with a Michael Scott meme for the student who dares to take out a cellular device during the lecture. Twitter may be a good source of ideas for you, taken with a grain of salt, of course.

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Uh-oh… now I’m scared to look at Twitter! The good, the bad AND the ugly? I can imagine that students would be quite frank in their experiences there. I too was quite honest on social media back in the day – it bit me in the butt sometimes, but I also hope that the professors learned something from the sometimes quite blunt feedback!

      Post-secondary can be a scary transition. Regardless of if you are going college or university bound, I don’t think that anything can quite prepare you for the experience. It is the first time you are actually “in control” of your life (for the most part… the statement is debatable). I just hope to not only meet their expectations but exceed them! 🙂

      Have an awesome weekend!

  3. Hello Erica,

    Very interesting topic, and your question gave me a quick flash back on my own experience as a student. Your concern is very well understood and felt! But I think that you are going to find the answer, because I believe that the first step of solving a problem is admitting and accepting that there is one. So, you are on the right track! Choosing and looking for an answer to this important question makes me believe that you are a dedicated educator! Through my years of experience of attending workshops and lectures, I would tell you a simple answer, that the only way to be an effective teacher is by being always updated with all new educational tools and be creative! Creativity is a key to success in attracting all kinds of audience whether they are kids or adult.
    The following link talks about 19 ideas to promote more creativity in classroom, I found it interesting, so you might do as well:

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