Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review of The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros

When I began reading The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, I immediately felt at home. G. Couros and I have similar viewpoints on education, which I will illustrate throughout this review.

Part I of the book is focused on Innovation in Education.  I often tell my pre-service teachers that if I think that I am done improving my teaching, then I need to retire.  I felt like Part I had this same sentiment.  This is best expressed at the end of chapter 2 with “…we have to move past “the way we have always done it,” and create better learning experiences for our students than we had ourselves. This does not mean replacing everything we do, but we must be willing to look with fresh eyes at what we do and ask, “Is there a better way?”

In Part II, Couros focuses on “Laying the Groundwork” for innovation in a school setting.  In all of my courses, I make an effort to build relationships with my students.  This is particularly important in the courses for pre-service math teachers because a huge part of having success as a teacher is building relationships.  Again, Couros and I seem to agree on the importance of relationships. It is summed up well when he says, “In fact, relationships are crucial for innovation, which is why you’ll always hear me say that the three most important words in education are: relationships, relationships, relationships.”

Unleashing Talent is the focus of Part III of the book.  Chapter 11 jumped out at me as it seemed to mirror what I am consistently modeling for my pre-service teachers with regard to building a professional learning network through Twitter.  I have met so many awesome educators through Twitter and have learned so much from each of them.  I consistently mention this to my students who think that I am on Twitter too much.  So, I asked Couros permission to share chapter 11 with my technology course this semester as I felt that if they heard the importance of Twitter from someone else then they might actually listen.  We shall see what happens.

Couros concludes his thoughts in Part IV of his book.  The title of chapter 13 is “Are We There Yet?”  Again, this goes along with my philosophy that as educators we should never stop growing or improving or changing because we need to become better for our students.  As a teacher educator, I feel my job has extra importance because I am preparing the math teachers who will be teaching the next generation. I love my job and I love my students and when I can see that I have influenced their viewpoint in a positive manner, then I have accomplished something.  I felt this sense of accomplishment on the first day of class this semester. I had them read the article The 10 Skills Modern Teachers Must Have before the first Math Technology class. I then asked each of them to decide which of the 10 skills was the most important, and the majority selected “remain a life-long learner”.  I was so proud of them and felt a huge sense of accomplishment because I truly try to model that skill every day in class. 

The Innovator’s Mindset is a great book and it made me feel like I am on the right track in my role as a teacher educator.  Thank you, George Couros!