….an Opinion

Balancing innovation
Balancing Innovation

Are we balancing innovation with critical review and criteria for quality outcomes?

I believe it is our responsibility as educational leaders to stay at the forefront of innovation and new developments in education.

We teach our children to be open minded, free thinking and life long learners. We also need to emulate these characteristics. Too often adults lives are focussed on “Do as I say but not as I do” and we know how well that works for children. Doing things the way they have always been done is not advice we would give our children so we need to let this idea echo in our own minds when we review current practices, create new plans and reflect on old ones. Balancing Innovation means staying optimistic but reviewing cautiously.

How do we innovate?

While I don’t believe in change for the sake of change” I do believe that we should intentionally test alternative views and ideas wherever possible. Challenging yourself with questions like “What if we had to choose an alternative way?” provokes and requires us to test new possibilities. It doesn’t mean we need to lock in those alternatives but it tests assumptions and opens our minds to new ways of thinking.

It is a critical thinking strategy we often apply to students but not often enough for ourselves.

There are so many conventions in education that continue to exist, just because we have never challenged to change them.

  • Timing of the school day.
  • Timing of school holidays.
  • Some high stakes testing models.
  • Teacher remuneration models.
  • Classroom and school design.
  • ……the list is endless

Who is in charge of change and balancing innovation?

The other thing we need to consider is whether we want commercially focussed technology innovators in charge of education direction or educators who put outcomes for children first. Or both? Education experts profess to know what is best for children and we need those experts leading, or part of the team who is inspiring change.

I describe myself, as being both an innovator but also a healthy cynic.

“Perhaps the greatest slur against cynicism is that it nurtures a fatalistic pessimism, a belief that nothing can ever be improved. There are lazy forms of cynicism of which this is certainly true. But at its best, cynicism is a greater force for progress than optimism. The optimist underestimates how difficult it is to achieve real change, believing that anything is possible and it’s possible now. Only by confronting head-on the reality that all progress is going to be obstructed by vested interests and corrupted by human venality can we create realistic programmes that actually have a chance of success. Progress is more of a challenge for the cynic but also more important and urgent, since for the optimist things aren’t that bad and are bound to get better anyway.” (source)

I believe it is very important to challenge assumptions about best practice. In fact I often seek out alternative ways or challenge the status quo. But every new idea needs to be filtered by meaningful scrutiny.

Does this initiative, idea or decision improve outcomes for students?

If it does, then let’s keep talking. If it doesn’t, let’s keep looking.

Balancing Innovation with carefully considered review is important.

Does this initiative, idea or decision improve outcomes for students?

A good example is recent developments and discussion about blockchain technology, NFT’s and the Metaverse. Amazing technology and important conversations for us all to have.

Will be embrace and adopt it?

Let’s see. Let’s test it.

But, let’s not put our heads in the sand and follow later without participation in the important conversations.

As leaders of schools and as important change makers inn our broader society, we need to live with integrity and model to and for young people important values in critical thinking.

We need to push boundaries and find new ways.

We need to make new decisions on each direction, by testing that the outcomes will genuinely benefit us all.

Balancing Innovation with criteria that guarantees educational outcomes is important.

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Internationally renowned for his expertise in education leadership, Greg Parry’s vast experience includes leadership of projects for education institutions throughout Australia, the Middle East, the United States, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Recognised for his numerous contributions in the education arena, Greg has received the Ministers Award for Excellence in School Leadership based on improvements in school performance and a range of successful principal training and leadership development programs, as well as the School of Excellence Award for Industry/School Partnerships and the School of Excellence Award for Technology Innovation. His company GSE (Global Services in Education) has been recognised as having the Best Global Brand in International Education in 2015 and 2016.

Considered one of the premier experts in his profession, Greg has trained teachers and principals throughout the world in areas such as critical thinking, language development and leadership. His expertise in school start up projects, leadership and curriculum development, has made him a sought after authority in these disciplines.

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