Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Balancing Tradition and Innovation in Schools

At some point, in every school, someone spoke up in a meeting and said something like, "I have an idea.  Why don't we try 'Idea X.'  I think it will work well at our school."

"Idea X" was new.  The school decided to try it, to experiment with it, to get feedback and make adjustments.  Suddenly, "Idea X" was being referenced in conversation, people began identifying themselves as a member of the school that does "Idea X."  Aspects of "Idea X" began to show up in areas of the school far beyond the original intention.

Now "Idea X", which was once innovative, is now tradition.

Of course, not every idea or innovation will stick.  Innovation implies experimentation.  Therefore, some ideas will not survive in their original form.  Unsuccessful initiatives shed light on new, previously unseen ideas, which may eventually change the landscape of your school.

Tradition and innovation are not opposites as much as they are dynamic phases of the life of ideas.  Schools need to embrace this thinking and examine the two for what they can be.

Tradition - The reward an idea receives for having a long-lasting, significant impact on the lives of the members of a school community (students, parents, faculty, staff).

Innovation - An idea that has significant potential for making a positive impact on the lives of the members of a school community.

Accepting the connected nature of tradition and innovation eliminates one as a barrier to the other and allows the school to adopt a growth mindset which embraces improvement and effort as a standard of excellence.

Thank you for reading this post.  As with all my posts this month, I ask you to consider joining me to help support a worthy cause - St. Jude's Research Hospital.  Between now and the end of January, 2012, I will donate $1 US for every copy of either of my two eBooks purchased.  You can find additional information about this offer by clicking here or you can simply click on either book cover above to purchase that title.

As of the writing of this post, 7 copies have been purchased.  My goal is 100, but we still have over a month to go.  PLEASE consider this cause and, if comfortable, send this request to your friends.
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