During a recent conversation with a colleague, we were sharing some of innovative practices happening within my school district. I’m excited to see the innovation that is occurring, and I know this is largely a result of challenging preconceived barriers, and thinking “outside the box”, while “inside the box”.
It’s easy to say something can’t be done. After all, we need to educate students within prescribed parameters established by the Ministry of Education and board policy. We must navigate within these parameters when we accept the conditions of employment. Far too often though, educators are quick to turn their backs on innovation. They see barriers without any thoughtful reflection, or questioning, regarding how these barriers can be overcome, or if they truly exist in the first place.
In my current position as a Learning Coordinator, and in my previous role as a classroom teacher, I recognize the parameters within which we must operate. We can’t just decide to teach the curriculum from another province. However, to a much larger degree, I believe these barriers are erected because of attitude, rather than any limitations placed on us by forces beyond our control.
Educators are immersed in a culture where it is much easier to recognize barriers and ascribe to the often false belief that something cannot be done. It’s easier to hold this belief than it is to think of ways to dismantle barriers, and seek solutions to navigate a path forward. Also, more educators than I think we give credit, acknowledge that we need to need to move forward, but when it comes to who is willing to put in the time necessary, enthusiasm wanes.
We need to foster a “can-do” attitude. We also need to remember that somebody somewhere has likely figured out a way to overcome what might be seen as barriers to innovation. If others can do it, and they also operate within prescribed parameters, we need to think more critically about finding solutions to overcome barriers, rather than halting progress due to a preconceived notion that it can’t be done.