[cross-posted from Connected Principals]
“Dad, there’s your favorite word again,” my son calls out, a tad cynically, when we are driving to school listening to NPR and a reporter uses the word innovation. I am aware that my son, and others, believe this word has become too much of a buzz-word and perhaps a fad, too often so broadly defined that it becomes generic, empty in content, and devoid of true significance.
But, I refuse to be deterred.
Like Tom Friedman in the New York Times, President Obama, and many others, I think the word and the concept capture and describe something both wonderful and incredibly important in our world today– and in fact, more important than ever before in our fast-changing times. Educational innovation, and, more importantly, educating students to be innovative, are the intertwined twin concepts I spend the most time trying to learn about more deeply, understand better, write about more often, and implement more effectively.
Looking back, I recognize now that the slogan change made in my first months (2009) at my school, St. Gregory, by the Board of Trustees and myself, came too soon and too abruptly, without enough preparation and inclusion, and I regret the rushed process. But, nevertheless, I love the phrase which adorns our website, brochures, and advertisements and which looms large on the walls of our major meeting areas: Creating Leaders and Innovators.
Creating Leaders and Innovators stood proudly tall in foot-large letters high up on our gymnasium wall in 2010 when Tony Wagner, Ph.D., visited our school and spoke beneath this banner to an audience of nearly 500 about the educational change our fast-changing world demands and how we can bring about this change.
So it should be no surprise that I am greatly enthusiastic about Dr. Wagner’s forthcoming book, (April, 2012),Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. I think every 21st century educator who seeks to strengthen our national and global future by teaching our students to be more creative and successful problem-solvers should put this book on the very top of their must-read list for 2012.
Last week, I had the good fortune to participate in a webinar organized by Edleader21, the fine “Professional Learning Community for 21st century educational leaders,” with Dr. Wagner, and I received his permission to share this “preview” of his forthcoming book’s exciting insights and lessons. (These are my notes recapitulating his remarks, not a verbatim transcript.) (more…)