Innovation in Education: Teachers as Learners

Dr. Ralph Córdova

Dr. Ralph Cordova is a teacher-leader and co-founder for CoLab – an organization that “catalyzes creativity by exploring, envisioning and enacting together to create bold and innovative solutions to everyday vexing educational problems in all subjects and all grades” ( Cordova was recently interviewed in an article from the Huffington Post, where he explained the concept of training teachers to become “innovators” in the classroom and follow a human-centric model of teaching.


CoLab utilizes the ResponsiveDesign™ model to further the effectiveness of teacher to student interactions.

  • Exploring & identifying existing literate cultural practices within the school;
  • Envisioning, trying on and developing a set of classroom-tested and research-documented humanizing literate practices; and
  • Enacting those practices within their classroom settings. We reconvene to report findings from the prototype, student work, and insights, and begin revising & refining the approaches, thus teachers learn to ‘own’ them. Then we celebrate as schools become communities of inquirers and learners, embracing spaces where teachers and students play, learn and grow.

I truly enjoy CoLab’s take on educational innovation. In the quoted words of Dr. Cordova: “Unlike the learners in schools of the past, 21st-century learners will not be successful based on how many facts and pieces they have memorized.  The successful learner will be able to study a problem in depth (explore), rapidly prototype radical solutions (envision), and test those approaches (enact) for failure and refining.” CoLab is converting teachers to learners: ones who thrive and have positive impact in the classroom setting.

For more information, check out CoLab’s main website:



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