Working in education and writing about a lot of innovative approaches to teaching, I often meet the ones who always find excuses rather than ways to implement innovation. The so-called naysayers. You will find a lot of them, especially in Austria. Being frustrated with the educational system or the funding of it, they will always be reluctant to find ways to implement innovation in the classroom. And it is almost always the same excuse: money. Granted, things are tough at times and a lot of innovative approaches could be implemented easier with enough funding. But a good teacher cannot be stopped by that.
If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!
This might be a systemic problem that occurs not only with the teachers, but with the parents as well. Somehow, we live in the <<what-was-good-for-me-cannot-be-wrong-for-my-kids>> culture. When the money is on the line, people always tend to be conservative when it comes to education. People fear the unknown and in some cases, rightfully so. That might be the reason education has not been challenged systemically. Parents seem to be satisfied if their kids learn the same things they have learned in school themselves. Consequently, schools try to be attractive to those kind of parents. But times have changed.
It is out there!
If we look closely, new pedagogical approaches are everywhere. Often, you can find them in schools that test better in the PISA study or your friends heard of. And there they are again, the naysayers. They will put forward the excuse of funding. Those exceptionally great schools have better fundings. For five years, I have been working on different concepts of the future classroom and speaking from my experience:
Re-arranging the desks in the classroom in order to promote different learning approaches, does not cost a thing. Planning your class around collaborative learning methods and inquiry-based learning, does not cost a thing. Encouraging students to use every material they can find, does not cost a thing. And finally, searching for teaching material on platforms like Scientix, LRE or Phet, does not cost a thing.
It starts with the teacher - luckily!
The teachers in innovative schools will tell you that not everything that shines is gold. But the initiative coming from the teacher in class is the most important thing. Sometimes, it is required to find a creative solution to implement changes in class. Instead of that being a bad thing, this is actually a good thing. It means that changes can happen quickly if the respective teacher chooses so but he/she will face severe challenges — let’s be realistic. And for all the naysayers out there: If it is important to you, you will find a way. If it is not important, you will find an excuse. If we wait for politics to change anything, we will be getting pretty old waiting.