Are there any questions?

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I started reading The Innovator’s Mindset this week by George Couros and I plan on joining in the discussions that OSSEMOOC is hosting starting in February.  Innovator’s Mindset Book Club

In the introduction, George talks about how curiosity and asking questions is necessary for innovation.  He also connects this with the notion that compliance does not foster innovation because in order to make something better (innovation), one must challenge the current state.

My son is 16 and, much like me, he has a more introverted personality.  So, I think we’re both still learning the benefits of a collaborative approach to learning.  We can recognize that we need some help but we’re both still learning how to ask the right questions.  Alan November, at Quest, said that’s the first place he’d start with in the classroom – teaching students how to ask questions.

Yesterday, as I was reading The Innovator’s Mindset, my son said to me in a somber tone, “Dad, I don’t think I could be one of those guys.”  I had no idea what he meant by “those guys”.  But then I clued in – innovator.  I asked him why not?  He said, “It seems like a lot of work.”  So, I asked him, “Why do you spend so much time on Xbox?”  He paused because he thought this would be another lecture on spending less time on Xbox.  I asked him, “Does that feel like work?”  Of course, he said, “No.”  I explained to him how innovation is just making something better and, in most cases, innovators are trying to change things that are near and dear to them.  That’s why they feel they need to be changed in the first place.  So our conversation now turned to his own interests and the things that he finds useful and meaningful and there was an immediate shift in his mood and tone.  He got excited about sports and numbers and data and the possibilities that lie ahead.

How can innovation and learning happen without a personal focus like this?  Where there is a personal connection, there is curiosity.  Where there is curiosity, there are questions.  This is the kind of approach that I want my son and daughter and their teachers to embrace.  This is the kind of approach I would want my students to embrace.

In his introduction, George Couros also says, “…to truly empower people, there must be a shift from telling to listening.”  In my special assignment role with our school board, this has been a focus of mine.  So, I think that the next logical step in my own learning should be asking questions so that all those involved can take the next step toward innovation.

I think I’ll leave George’s book out in plain view at home to see if any other questions arise?

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