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Educators Innovating Learning From the Inside Out

Editor's note: Laura White, a preschool autism teacher and former manager of Ashoka's Changemaker Schools Network, is the co-author of this post.

Teacher-researchers, design-thinkers, teacherpreneurs. . . Educators of all types have the potential to exercise their creativity, collaboration, and playfulness to improve education.

When devising strategies to make education work for the 21st century, it's natural to think first about students. How do we prepare children for a rapidly changing world? For jobs that don't exist yet? For the creative problem solving required to tackle emerging global challenges?

Tempting as it is to put children at the center of all our education decisions, we must not start there. Instead, we must begin with their teachers. Schools that enable teachers to build their own empathy skills, think creatively, and work collaboratively will be best equipped to build these same skills in students. Fortunately, any school can nurture an instructive, human-centered learning environment. Administrators can encourage teachers to identify themselves as leaders who are re-imagining learning, giving them the freedom to innovate.

Here are some examples of identities that teachers have assumed in Ashoka Changemaker Schools that empower them to restructure learning.

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