7 Ways to Foster Innovation Among Your Students
Guest Post By Jessica Robinson
The innovation in education technology is driving some significant changes in the sector. Everything is undergoing a complete overhaul from classrooms to teaching methodologies, given the benefits of technology. However, the real difference will be felt when students can endorse innovation in their perspectives and characters. Smart classrooms will not be much beneficial unless students adapt to smartness and innovation.
As a teacher, you do not want the expanse of your students’ development to remain limited to textbooks. You want your students to have a zeal for creativity and innovation to grow holistically. The grasping power of young children to learn new things is unbelievably amazing. You should promote innovation in their behaviors from a young age itself. But irrespective of how lucrative the idea seems, encouraging innovation among your students will require some tireless effort. But do not worry at all! All the answers that you seek about fostering a culture of innovation in the classroom are listed in this post. In this blog, you will find the most systematic, structured, and impactful ways of cultivating a culture of innovation among students. Let us delve deeper into these powerful strategies.
Ways to inspire innovation in students
1. Encourage independent thinking
For students to bring innovation to their thinking, self-confidence is essential. You will have to encourage independent thinking in your students to start believing in themselves. When they attain the right mindset backed by immense self-belief, they will be more flamboyant while thinking outside the box.
What kills innovation and creativity in most of the students is that they are always told what to do. Young children are never trusted to think independently, and decisions are often enforced on them. But this is what you need to change if you are diligent in making your students more innovative. You should exhibit more faith in your students and let them make their own decisions wherever possible. As an added advantage, self-reliance among students will also fortify strong leadership skills and polish their problem-solving abilities. To augment, independence is a critical life skill that makes individuals more pragmatic and vital. Hence, you need to work consistently to explore the possibilities of giving students enough opportunities to portray their individuality. By doing so, you will also be able to help your students to eliminate procrastination.
To cite a small example, let us say you are assigning a project to the class which will have seven members in each completed group. So, rather than deciding on the groups, let students choose their group members based on their critical thinking. This may seem like a small act of trust you endorse on them. However, it will get them thinking and improvising.
2. Promote curiosity
Curiosity is the foundation of excellence, and the better this foundation gets, the stronger will be the innovation in students. To bring out the best innovation in your students, you too have to be at the epitome of your creation. You have to inspire your students to be curious and interested such that they find joy in learning. You should encourage them to ask questions in the class to collect vital information. Many psychologists cite curiosity as a major driving force for intellectual growth. This further substantiates the assertion that curiosity facilitates active learning in students. Therefore, stimulating curiosity in the classroom should be one of the top agendas in your teaching methodologies.
But to achieve this, you will have to create a curiosity model in front of them. To substantiate, you will have to exhibit how one can ask the right questions. Furthermore, you should keep evolving new strategies to foster a culture of curiosity in the classroom. The more questions the students ask, the more they will know and the more they will innovate. One needs enough information to improvise and innovate. This know-how of things will come to your students when they seek answers about various spheres. In the process, they will make some mistakes and ask irrelevant questions. In such a scenario, you should not demotivate them and show them the right way with patience.
3. Team building
When different students bring unique perspectives and talents together, you can expect wonders to happen. Yes, this may seem a little contrary to our assertion of inspiring independent thinking students. But maintaining the right balance between teamwork and individuality is the key. Diversity and inclusion have excellent prospects to offer regarding students’ valuable learning. The world is now recognizing the same, and institutions are now keen to have diverse classrooms. Students can learn from each other’s experiences and perceptions in a diverse student community. This is what makes group activities essential for students’ overall development and growth.
If you can effectively manage classroom diversity, you can harvest various merits of it. When students with diverse talents team up to achieve common goals, innovation and creativity will be fostered. Henceforth, you should devise team building activities in the classroom or assign group projects regularly.
4. Assign challenging projects
Another great way to stimulate innovation among students is to challenge their ability. Students who are keen to prove themselves will love intriguing, unusual, and dynamic challenges. When their potentials are challenged, they will engage themselves in critical thinking. They will further realize that innovation is an indispensable virtue of modern-day competitiveness. Of course, the best challenges will require the best magnitudes of innovation and creativity to meet ends. In this way, you will efficiently impart the zeal for exploration to children’s mindsets. The simplest way to do this is to assign a few challenging classroom projects to your students.
These challenges can be pertinent to their curriculum or extracurricular elements of learning. The basic idea is that you need to innovate and frame projects that demand the maximum innovation from students. At the same time, you should also be available to provide additional support to your students if they seek it. Let them make relentless efforts to work on their projects and let them tussle with the underlying challenges. If they give up after trying all they could, you can still appreciate the effort and then show them the right way. They may not be able to accomplish the desired outcome, but in their tedious effort, they will still think in innovative ways.
5. Work on developing growth mindsets
To put it simply, individuals who firmly believe that they can enhance their talents through hard work and diligent effort have growth mindsets. Students must have such mindsets to drive the pursuit of excellence in them. With a progressive perspective, each student will be able to believe that he can make a real difference with tireless inputs. Besides, such mindsets will be keen to discover new verticals of creativity and innovation.
To continue, it is interesting to note that as per neuroscientific research, growth mindsets can add to student motivation and academic performance in an immense way. Further, the study states that there is empirical evidence that growth mindsets make students more willing to take up challenges. It can hence be inferred beyond doubt that developing growth mindsets in students will give rise to greater intellect and innovation.
As a matter of fact, one firm belief that advocates of growth mindsets have is that intelligence can change over time. They propose that people can become more intelligent with hard work and commitment. On the other hand, the proponents of a fixed mindset believe that an individual cannot change his innate intelligence much. After this comparison, it is fascinating to realize that children prefer to attend schools that propagate the idea of growth mindsets. This can be validated with credible statistics from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD states that more than 70% of children in nations like the UK and Germany believe in growth mindsets. Besides, children are happier to choose schools that exhibit more faith in the concept of growth mindsets. These assertions put forth a strong case for teachers to work in the direction of advancing growth mindsets in students. Because students and parents too understand the significance of growth mindsets, you will enjoy complete cooperation.
6. Stimulate reading habits in students
Reading can have magnificent effects on the cognitive development of children’s minds. Here we are not limiting the extent of reading to school textbooks or assignments for homework. For the various psychological benefits that reading offers to human minds, you should persuade your students to read across niches. They can choose to read fiction, science, history, philosophy, and so on based on their personal interests. The South African College of Applied Psychology corroborates the positive impact of reading on our minds. The findings of its research argue that reading can improve mental flexibility in humans and can prove to be a key contributor to creativity. This makes reading a promising way to foster innovation in young children. Henceforth, you should mentor your students to read more often and read versatile content.
Talking of more upsides of reading, it also helps students to grasp more knowledge and diversify their intellect. Moreover, reading enhances brain connectivity and helps readers to deal with stress in an effective way. Given the fact that students these days are prone to stress in schools, reading can help them to sustain good mental health. Since mental wellness is critical for the generation of innovative ideas, reading will contribute in more than one way.
7. Set the benchmark
You are the leader of the class and your students are constantly observing you so as to learn from your aura. So, you have to personify innovation in the classroom on a daily basis to draw students’ interests. As their role model, you have to make innovation and creativity strong attributes in your own personality. You cannot expect young children to learn innovation on their own unless you show them how innovation can be mastered. If they see innovation reflecting brightly in your persona, they will be eager to inculcate the same in their traits.
Probing further, there are studies that confirm the fact that students try to impersonate the vital attitudes and behavioral qualities of their teachers. Having said that, you have to be at your creative and innovative best when you conduct yourself in front of the class. You do not have to be that typical teacher who kills innovation in students by restricting them to bookish definitions. You should rather lead their voyage to innovation by setting the benchmark for them with your innovative leadership.
To encapsulate, the benefits of innovation are not restricted to improving the academic performances of students. Innovation is a practical life skill that will help students excel in all spheres of life. Given how competitive the world is getting with each passing day, innovation and creativity will give your students the edge to outperform others. Once they develop the knack for innovation, it will stay with them for their entire lives. However, it is not easy for any teacher to cultivate these values in the classroom. You will have to experiment a little with your methodologies to bring out the best innovation in your students. Besides, you will have to invest honest diligence in bringing the above strategies to life. The bottom line is, students will learn innovation the best when they are in awe of their teacher’s innovative brilliance. Moreover, besides setting great examples for them, you have to expose them to outside the box challenges. After all, an educator’s innovation is the key to inspire the same in his students.