Innovative Thinking Begins with Education

I recently read in the National Post about how Canada has not positioned itself as an innovative nation. It is suggested that successful innovation in industry is something that can be driven by our government through policy and funding. How can this be accomplished when innovative thinking itself is not a priority and is not fostered through our education curricula? Creativity and innovative thinking is recognized as a necessary "success skill", but with standards and test scores still the norm, this is far from reality.

It is not acceptable for our children to learn the same lessons, use the same materials and work on the same assignments that we encountered in our own school experiences decades ago. It is widely understood by academic leaders that our classrooms and curriculum must look dramatically different today if our kids are going to be prepared for success in our modern world. It’s not easy to adapt and accept the massive changes needed, especially when we have always known school to look, feel and sound a certain way, but a shift in our mindset and approach as government, educators and parents is critical if we are going to make the progress needed.

While large public systems are generally not able to adapt quickly enough to affect change at the pace required just to keep up, many alternative and independent educators are making headway on innovation in education. Alternative independent schools and micro schools are able to be progressive and innovative, and these programs and approaches should be encouraged by our governments, recognizing the opportunities to collaborate and help the greater system, rather than continuing an “us against them” mentality that is fostered by our current politics. Nearly every industry and sector needs to adapt or innovate to keep up, and education should be no different. The success of our young people, and our ability to be an innovative country, depends on it.