Throwing out the instructions: how to embrace innovation

Theresa Eichholz

Terri Eichholz is a teacher in North East Independent School District in San Antonio, TX. She has been teaching gifted students in grades K-5 for 13 years. Before that, she taught 5th grade for 8 years.


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On 30th January, Theresa Eicholz publishes another thoughtful article from San Antonio, Texas; this time on how to think outside the box, leaving the instructions behind....

“The real value of the Lego set doesn’t come until the kid takes it apart and realizes they’ve lost the instructions.” - Randy Rogers

In his TCEA 2014 presentation, “Failure to Innovate,” Randy Rodgers stated the above quote, and I realized that it really says a lot about the problems in education today. Our students are far too reliant on following directions, and so many are afraid to deviate in order to do some creative thinking. I remember my daughter being the same with an old Lite-Brite we had inherited from a friend. She loved it as long as there were papers she could stick on it to make the designs. But as soon as we ran out of the papers, she didn’t know what to do. When I suggested she make up her own designs, she looked at me like I was crazy. As parents and teachers, we need to find ways to encourage creation, rather than only rewarding products that basically just prove our students know how to follow directions.

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