As you are all aware innovation is, and has been for some time, one of the key ‘buzz words’ in FE. (Can I still say buzz word?) There are some that would call me an innovator, although I believe that sometimes I’m just an adaptive thief. The real key to innovation though is not to innovate for innovation’s sake. If you actually experimented with everything you came across it would be very confusing for all. I have heard teachers being told to be brave and experiment in classes. This is great but not something I would advocate on a regular basis. “It doesn’t matter if it goes wrong, at least you tried.” Good lessons can go bad.
No, actually it does matter if it goes wrong unless you are a good innovator (OK maybe once is cool) but young people can have a intolerance of fools just like ‘grown ups’. I do advocate courage though, students (like a lot of people) don’t always take well to change. Henry Ford once said, regarding the Model T Ford, “ If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said, a faster horse.” So innovation and change are key to a successful lesson.
After saying that a lesson where the planning goes pear shaped can be much more interesting for you and students, maybe it is more challenging to try and pull it back but if you are a good innovator then lessons like these can become some of the most interesting lessons you deliver. I like to think of a lesson as a play. If all the actors came on stage without learning their lines I guess the theater would be empty in about ten minutes, but then you get a golden moment where an actor adlibs and the play takes on a new breath of life. In the acting world it’s called improvisation.
So, lest we forget, change, transform, reorganise and renovate. I do like those words.