I am so happy that George Couros emphasizes relationships in his book, "The Innovator's Mindset". In my heart, I truly believe that the solution to remove most of the majors barriers that keep our student's from learning can be overcome by forming meaningful relationships. An entire chapter is dedicated to this one aspect of what we do as innovative educators. I enjoy how there are overtones of this concept throughout the entire book which only serves to reinforce the notion that unless we have the benefits that come with a solid relationship, we will not enjoy the fruits that follow from the labor. Whether you are a teacher or administrator, relationships are a crucial aspect of what we do. The graphic on the left captures the importance of relationships. No matter what age or level, context or environment, relationships are essential to a solid foundation for student success.
How do relationships relate to innovation? In order to be an innovator there is a certain amount of trust that has to be established because the innovator takes a chance and there is a chance of failure. The innovator must know that failure will not result in any castigation. The level of trust also equates to the quality of the results that follow. Couros emphasized that importance of personal individual interactions in order to build trust and understanding. He asks the question, "Do you see personal moments you have with your staff as investments or expenditures?" I think the way we answer this question will indicate your level of trust building ability.
Couros also describes the differences between engagement and empowerment.
"Engaging students means getting kids excited about our content, interests, and curricula. Empowering students means giving kids the knowledge and skill to pursue their passions, interests, and future."Which is more beneficial for the student? Inevitable, we need to realize that the opportunities that are more learner-centered will yield the highest benefit for our students. We must try to empower them and not just engage them.