To inspire students to be innovative and take risks in the classroom, they need to see their teacher doing the same. So, I think an important part of creating an innovative classroom environment requires a teacher who is willing to be open to modelling their own learning.
It comes down to “walking the walk”, not just “talking the talk”. Students will trust both the teacher and the process more if the teacher is willing to do the same thing that is expected of them.
I always strive to model my learning for students. In my current role as a daily occasional teacher, I often am going into class “blind” even if I know what course and/or topic is being taught.
Since I don’t have the curriculum for every class memorized (surprising, I know!), I am often (re-)learning on the go!
So, I find ways to learn! I pick up a textbook, I search on Google, I find YouTube videos, and (best of all) I ask the students! I do this all in front of the students. I tell them if I don’t know something, but I also tell them that we’ll figure it out!
Sometimes I’m able to learn enough to help them, other times we learn along side each other, and other times they help each other. I think the students witnessing all of these is beneficial to them! They see learning is not linear, not permanent, and collaborative.
They see me taking the risk of being honest and open about my own learning, which gains trust and shows I’m “real”. That in turn, will hopefully encourage the students to do the same and take their own risks!
What do you do to model your learning for students? Do you think that’s important for innovation?