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10 Characteristics of an Innovative Classroom

By Matthew Lynch — July 16, 2018 2 min read
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If your goal is to engage and educate students to the greatest extent possible, you need to consider the benefits of an innovative classroom. An innovative classroom will possess several key traits, including:

1. Reflection

Innovative classrooms engage in constant reflection and inquisition. They think about what is working as a class and independently and what is not. Reflection can be uncomfortable, but for a class to be constantly evolving and innovating, this process must occur. Furthermore, an innovative classroom will always be asking itself, “what if?” Students won’t be satisfied with the status quo and will push themselves to be always learning more. Invite and encourage students to ask questions.

2. Constant learning

An innovative classroom never stops to catch its breath. Every event is seen as a teachable moment, and students will benefit from a fast-paced, ever-changing environment.

3. Creativity

A creative classroom not only comes up with unique solutions to everyday problems, but it also develops the responses necessary to deal with future challenges. A creative classroom fosters innovation by encouraging students to think outside of the box.

4. Connection

An educator must always know his or her students, as well as the trends that are emerging in the profession. He or she will seek out new techniques and technologies and encourage students to do the same.

5. Principles and routines

You should exist and function on strong principles and routines. Incorporate strong values to guide the class. The teacher in an innovative classroom will encourage consistency and diligence by establishing hard-and-fast guidelines for how the day is run.

6. Problem-finding

Innovative classrooms don’t wait for problems to appear to them--they actively seek out problems in the classroom, in their learning, and in the world. Innovation starts with a question--not with an answer. New technologies and understandings can only be developed when students begin to ask questions about “why” or “how.”

7. Collaboration

A collaborative classroom encourages innovation by pushing students to work with others who may be different from them, either in their beliefs, behavior, or background. Collaboration in the classroom encourages discussion, which is the father of all innovation.

8. Variation

Don’t rely on one teaching or learning technique to get a point across. An innovative classroom includes teaching strategies that are always evolving, and are different from day to day.

9. Goal setting

Innovative learners will set goals for themselves, and crush them. These goals may be large or small, or ideally contain some aspects of both types, but should guide learners towards innovation.

10. Opportunities for revision

Not only are innovative learners risk-takers, but they also recognize that nothing is ever perfect. As a result, an innovative classroom is resilient and pushes students and teachers to always be changing, adapting, and improving. Innovative learners will look to themselves and others to better every aspect of their performance.

These ten characteristics are important in establishing an innovative classroom. Although they don’t necessarily always come naturally, it is important for teachers to be aware of them and to incorporate an action to help develop each characteristic on a daily basis.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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